Reducing Patient Anxiety – How nurses can help


No matter what health issues one is dealing with, hospital stays can be quite daunting and overwhelming and trigger intense feelings of stress and anxiety. It’s normal and common for people to feel scared and nervous in these situations, considering hospitalization is never a pleasant experience and no one expects to have a good time while undergoing medical examinations and treatments, even when it implies routine checks or non-invasive procedures.

The mere thought of being in a hospital setting is often enough to make one uncomfortable. Some even avoid seeking medical assistance and delay treatment for this very reason. However, regular health checks are a must and hospitalization is sometimes necessary when further investigations are required or when dealing with a more serious illness that can’t be treated at home. 

Unfortunately, stress and anxiety associated with hospitalization are not conducive to recovery as these emotions can negatively impact health outcomes, especially if they persist for longer periods of time. It’s therefore important for patients to look for ways to keep anxiety and stress levels in check, and nurses can be great allies in this respect.

The trials and tribulations of hospitalization

While it’s obvious that no one enjoys being hospitalized, the stress and anxiety patients experience can come from multiple sources. In general, hospital anxiety is linked to the fear of the unknown and having to spend time in an unfamiliar environment. Even the best hospitals and clinics that have state-of-the-art equipment and facilities and provide a high level of care for their patients can’t recreate the soothing and comforting atmosphere of a home. 

For others, the fear of medical procedures or receiving an unfavorable diagnosis are the main triggers. These feelings can be more intense for people who have had unpleasant or even traumatic experiences in the past related to hospitals, such as the loss of a loved one or previous health issues. Financial concerns, lack of information or underlying mental health issues can make matters worse. 

The fact that hospital stays take people out of their comfort zone and force them to break their routines doesn’t help either. At home, people have easy access to all sorts of resources and can use different techniques and strategies to manage and relieve stress and anxiety. Some deal with anxiety by working out, spending time in nature, or engaging in practices that support relaxation and mindfulness such as yoga and meditation. Others opt for alternative treatments involving cannabis plants that they grow themselves from cannabis seeds

In a hospital environment, where patients are often bedridden and there are certain rules and protocols that one has to follow, many of these anxiety-relieving methods are not available, so the options are much more limited. Fortunately, patients benefit from the assistance and support that nurses provide which can be of great help in keeping anxiety and other negative emotions at bay. 

How nurses can help patients cope with stress and anxiety 

As trained healthcare professionals, nurses have the necessary skills and knowledge to provide adequate care for all patients and that includes providing emotional support and helping them keep stress and anxiety under control.

Communicating effectively

People fear what they don’t know and being hospitalized comes with a fair share of confusion and uncertainty. Patients don’t know what to expect and what’s going to happen to them after being admitted and that can exacerbate their anxiety. Nurses can put patients’ fears to rest by talking to them and walking them through all the procedures, investigations, and treatments they have to undergo, making sure they explain why they are important and what they imply. Removing the unknown from the equation can help patients regain a sense of calm and control. 

While effective communication can bring clarity, listening to patients’ concerns provides comfort and reassurance. Patients feel a lot more anxious when they are ignored or when they are told their worries are unfounded. Sometimes, all it takes to calm their unease is listening to them without judgment and making sure they feel heard and understood. 

Showing empathy and compassion 

While some level of detachment is necessary for nurses to focus on their tasks and provide the highest level of care, patients feel a lot better when they establish a connection with the people caring for them. Since nurses spend a lot of time with patients, they have the possibility to make their time in the hospital a lot more pleasant by simply being compassionate and sympathetic.  

Kindness can go a long way in improving patients’ well-being. Nurses can make a world of a difference in their patients’ mental and emotional state through small gestures like holding their hands, validating their feelings, letting them know they are not alone and showing they care. 

Providing means of relaxation 

The hospital setting is quite restrictive when it comes to recreational activities, for reasons that are easy to understand. It’s not possible for patients to leave the hospital whenever they want to take a walk in the park because they feel anxious, nor can they enjoy the benefits of using cannabis from the plants they’ve grown at home after purchasing seeds from providers like Seedsman.com

However, nurses can make it easier for patients to practice some of the activities they enjoy and help them take their minds off their worries. For example, nurses can allow patients to listen to music in their headphones before or after a stressful medical procedure as this has been shown to reduce anxiety levels. Similarly, patients tend to feel better if they are allowed to bring objects from home such as pictures or books, or if family members are allowed to visit more often. 

The help and support that nurses provide is truly invaluable. Apart from delivering healthcare services, nurses also offer spiritual and emotional support, helping patients keep anxiety in check and navigate some of the most challenging times in their lives.


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