My clinical experience has been really good so far. I feel like I have been overall communicating very well with my patients. I can ask them questions about pain and their current situation, but I am not sure how to approach their past. The only time I find communication hard is when it comes to asking personal questions. All of my patients have been older, and so I want to ask them about their past. However, I am not sure if that would trigger a bad memory or be inappropriate on a professional level.
I feel like personal questions help to distract patients from the pain, or just make them feel more comfortable with you. In situations where you are just cleaning their room, or watching them eat, I find it weird to sit and talk about random things. A lot of the time I want to ask about their families, or if they went to college. However, I am scared if I ask about their families that it could bring up bad memories or they just don’t have a good relationship with their family. I guess if they said, “I don’t have a good relationship with my family”, that would be okay, but then I do not think I would know how to respond to that. So far, in my clinical setting, I have only talked about to the patient in regard to their hospital stay. However, I would like to maybe incorporate more conversation to make the patient more comfortable with me.
I think the reason I do not like asking personal questions is because I hate conflict. I am known to my friends and family as “people pleaser”, and I do not like to make people feel uncomfortable. I am very worried about the bad responses that I could get. Instead of focusing on the conversation, I start to focus on all the things that could go wrong in these conversations. I think this really stems from my generalized anxiety disorder. I started to take medicine to help with my anxiety, but it is still a daily struggle to become calm and conscious of my thoughts.
I think by pushing myself out of my boundaries and asking those questions can help me overcome this fear. I find that when I do something one time, it becomes much easier to do that task from then on. Next clinical, if I find the situation appropriate, I would like to get to know my patient more outside of the hospital stay. I think this information could give me ideas of why the patient is in my care, and what I can do to make them feel more comfortable.