Impatience During Patient Care is Costly

Article Categories: Caregiver Corner & Legal and Ethics

If there’s a word to describe the healthcare industry today, it is definitely “fast-paced.” Things are constantly changing or moving. Both staff and clients are in a hurry to get answers and find solutions. As a nursing assistant, do you sometimes feel like you can’t keep up?

Everyone has patience to a degree. Some are just more anxious than others when their tasks aren’t finished on time, and their actions show it. They drum their fingers on the table, tap their pens on their chart, roll their eyes, and huff. They speak quickly, and their facial expression says it all. They frown, look stern, and barely contribute (unless it’s to ask a patient to hurry up).

Anything that takes too long stretches their patience thin—perhaps one patient needs reminding over and over again to take their medications, or another takes forever to finish eating. These are just some examples that test your limits.

Patience is a hard-to-find attitude these days. In the rise of mobile devices and other technologies, we get answers by just clicking a few keys on our phones. Here are some terms to describe our world that becomes more impatient by the minute: instant food, instant clean, same-day delivery, mobile banking . . . you could probably add a few more to this list. These words are a reflection that rewards come instantaneously (or nearly).

In healthcare, we carry that same hurried culture, and in one sense, this means being able to provide fast, quality service to address patient needs. Workers are instructed to meet demands in the quickest way possible. The intention here is good, and surely we would all want the same for ourselves.

But, the problem is that overwhelmed healthcare staff, including CNAs, who are expected to keep up, sometimes fail to balance the situation. One of the greatest failures brought about by impatience while providing care is healthcare workers making the wrong decision to leave a patient on their own, to do something more “worthwhile” with their time. In the worst cases, some even use force or intimidation to get things done their way when they become overly frustrated.

The end-result of impatience while providing care is costly. If CNAs abandon their tasks, patients do not receive the care they need and become prone to falls and other injuries. Forcing a patient to hurry or move along to finish a task is also outright disrespectful and a violation of patient's rights. The consequences can blow up and include legal punishment.

So, what's a nursing assistant to do when their patience is stretched far too thin?

There are no instant solutions to this, but a calm attitude does help a lot.

Know how time seems to drag on in situations where you are in a hurry? When you're too stressed out, you tend to panic and become careless. You become prone to mistakes. Giving proper guidance and clear instructions to patients can definitely help in this regard.

Also, address burnout before it gets the better of you. Your lack of patience may be coming from unrelieved stress experienced over time, so give yourself a break once in a while by doing something relaxing. Also, level up your time management and multi-tasking skills. Lighten the mood by letting your sense of humor kick in (without being offensive).

Lastly, patience can be practiced and learned. Like any other skill, you need time to master it. Extending your patience every chance you can get improves your tolerance. After some time, you'll notice it takes twice the time before you get irritated over a slow or delayed response.

A CNA with patience as a virtue knows how to wait for slow things in a fast-moving environment, and they create an impact in healthcare and that is worthy of recognition.


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