Trust is the foundation of every relationship, even in the workplace. In healthcare, services are built on trust. It also creates a positive culture. Without trust, there can be no patient-healthcare worker relationships or productive healthcare teams.
Trust is so basic that it is taken for granted as we go about our daily tasks as CNAs, but it makes the healthcare world go around. Here are some common scenarios for you to consider:
1. The patient readily follows treatment protocols because they are confident that the healthcare team knows best on how to improve their condition.
2. A patient signs a consent form for their surgery—it’s like saying, “My life is in your hands.”
3. Patient agrees to let their CNA help undress them and put on an examination gown because they trust that the CNA will ensure their privacy.
4. A CNA trusts the care plan is a product of teamwork and is also designed to provide the best care possible.
5. A nurse considers a CNA’s observations and reevaluates the patient based on the CNA’s remarks.
6. A CNA sends honest feedback regarding patient care because the CNA knows that what they say won’t be taken in a bad light.
To help build and strengthen trust in the workplace, a nursing assistant must:
Recognize that it takes a lot of effort. Trust is earned and, once lost, it’s hard to get back. For example, did a patient fall while on your watch? Where trust is broken in this regard, the patient or their family may request different staff to look after them (or keep a watchful eye on you).
Learn to communicate well. For patients and colleagues to trust you, you have to know how to communicate respectfully. Keep your word and do what you say you’ll do, without a hidden agenda. Be truthful especially when patient safety is at stake. Be honest and transparent with good intentions. If you see something that needs improvement, don’t hesitate to act on it by first voicing your concerns to your supervisor and then offering help to carry out improvements. Sometimes, it’s tempting to say, “It’s none of my business,” because it’s the easy way out to avoid confrontations and additional responsibility, but losing your concern for others kills trust.
Be competent. When you are new to the job or it’s your first time to perform a difficult procedure, ask an experienced colleague to accompany you. Don’t forget to smile sincerely at the patient and talk with them to help you relax, too. Keep updated on proper patient care protocols and never compromise patient safety, even when you are pressed for time or lack the right equipment.
Be genuine and sincere in performing patient care and assisting the team. Your concern will show, as well as the lack of it. Patients and your team feel your intentions and when you aren’t sincere, you send out a signal that you shouldn’t be trusted. Unless you show genuine care, the relationships you build are fragile.
Model the behavior that you want. Do you hate it when senior staff bullies you because you’re a newbie? When the time comes to support a coworker fresh from training school, extend your support and make their onboarding experience a pleasant and productive one. Getting even has no place in building trust.
Trust is hard to come by these days, but in healthcare, it is a must for achieving positive health outcomes for patients, improving patient satisfaction, and for teamwork to bring out the best results. CNAs have the power to make a big impact in this regard.
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