3. When gathering patient information, don’t forget the patient
When asking a patient for information and reading the questions from a computer, it’s easy to become so engrossed in entering the information that we literally forget to look at the patient. It goes without saying that you need to look at the computer when inputting information, but don’t forget the patient, either! Here are a few tips:
- Make eye contact often
- Really listen to the patient
- Try not to position the computer like a huge wall between you and the patient
4. Remember your social media and email manners
Social media, including websites like Facebook and YouTube, is becoming increasingly popular. People use social media for a variety of purposes, but as nurses we must be aware of the rules for using social media at our workplaces. For example, just because you are on your break doesn’t mean you can use the company computer to update your Facebook status—this is prohibited in some workplaces. Find out what the rules are and do not make assumptions.
Some nurses may not participate in social media. If that’s your choice, that’s more than okay. Just because it’s the latest trend doesn’t necessarily mean you need to jump on it. Part of staying grounded is setting boundaries. If it’s not mandatory to participate in your workplace’s social media website and you are struggling to keep up with all the other tech changes, then don’t burden yourself with it. Take on what you can at the moment, and keep learning and trying new things at a pace that feels right for you.
If you do participate in social media, remember to be courteous. This goes for email as well. Because you’re not face-to-face with the person you are communicating with, it can be challenging to convey your point. A few quick pointers:
- Do not type in all caps (this is considered yelling)
- Do not leave the subject field blank
- Be careful when sending emails to a group. Does everyone in the group really need to receive the email?
- Do not give out personal information (especially protected health information)
5. Respect confidentiality
When using social media, you must remember to respect patient confidentiality. Whether you’re posting something on your workplace’s Facebook page or you’re creating your own YouTube video, it’s important to adhere to the rules of protected health information. Don’t get so wrapped up in the fun of social media that you forget about patient confidentiality.
Dealing with the constant technology changes within the workplace can be challenging. Nevertheless, remembering the basics of etiquette, safety and confidentiality can go a long way to keeping you safe and sane on the job!
Alicia-Joy Pierre, RN, is a writer, speaker and nurse career coach. She is the creator of The Nursing Tracker, the unique and effective system for nurses to stay organized and ahead of schedule. Pierre enjoys helping fellow nurses connect with their inner genius and make career transitions that make their hearts sing and their wallets happy. You can find out more at transitionsinnursing.com/.