Once you are a nurse you then become a role model, a referral source, adviser, educator, and nurturer. This will be your position in society. The public will now be coming to you for guidance, sometimes uninvited. This is because you are always a nurse whether at work, home, public or school. Surprise! People will love to tell you all the things they are afraid to tell their doctors.


The way our healthcare system is now set up, patients are clients, and the hospital is a business. There are some who have been in nursing for a very long time and they may have different ideas about this. You, on the other hand are coming in with a fresh start and have the ability to set new realities of health care as we evolve. Find your balance in between.

Focus on caring. On the patient. Do not forget how patients are people too. Their personality, modesty, and dignity are equally important. Think of if it was your loved one. What would those small things look like? When you lose the focus of caring, you lose nursing. Treat everyone as a person and not the illness or injury. You are there to help, do not forget that.

Understand and be Patient. The most difficult patients can present the greatest challenge.

The concept of caring. Utilize everything that brought you into nursing in the first place. “They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”. Nurses put the care in health care. Some ways to focus on patient-centered care are:

  • Put your patient first

  • Be of service to your patients

  • Be mindful of the person

  • Treat your patient with dignity and respect

  • Regard the patients’ family with respect and dignity, too

  • Involve patients in their own care

  • Listen

  • Be aware of your language

  • Empower your patients to help themselves

  • Be pleasant

  • Set time limits with your patients

  • Don’t make assumptions about your patients

  • Try to find out about the real person behind the patient

Instilling a sense of confidence- does not come automatically

  • Putting your clients at ease

  • Develop a sense of trust and care

  • Position yourself as an expert

  • Remember and relay you have a body of health care knowledge

  • Combine all of the above and create a desire within your patients to continue their relationship with you

How to instill confidence?

  • Appearance

  • Mannerisms

  • Behavior

  • Demeanor

  • Communication skills

  • Ability to meet your patients’ needs


  • What makes you comfortable when you first meet someone?

  • Appear confident and calm even if you don't feel that way

  • If you are asked a question you can’t answer, instead of saying “I don’t know”, say something like, “Let me get someone who can answer that for you”.

  • Have a proper introduction- do not assume the patient knows you are the nurse.

How to address patients? Formality may be more comfortable to be addressed by last name, especially patients from older generations.

Appearance- make sure you look clean and put together to show you are capable of caring for yourself, therefore, another person.


Remember one cannot do their job without the other. This relationship has evolved considerably over the years. Although there may be some stories about how some doctors have treated nurses, today there is more equality and respect than ever before. As new doctors and nurses come along we are seeing a new relationship develop.

Today, in some areas, some nurses and doctors are even on a first name basis when not in the presence of patients or their families. You will learn the appropriate setting and culture on the unit you work.

Tips on Working with Doctors

Communicate as much as possible!

  • Introduce yourself

  • Sincere flattery never hurts

  • Don’t be intimidated

  • Be assertive

  • Ask questions

  • Establish rapport

  • Be honest and direct

  • Show respect and consideration- but don’t be a doormat

  • Seek clarification

Communicating with Doctors

Doctors have a lot on their minds and are usually very busy so when communicating they usually want the facts, question, or statement of the problem in a clear, concise format.

“You have 2 minutes, what will you say”?

If an order seems inappropriate or incorrect, instead of stating that, try instead to ask the doctor to explain or teach something in order to clarify instead of putting them on the defensive. This way, the doctor will be curious and it is a diplomatic way to question an order that doesn’t seem right.

Instead of questioning the provider’s judgment, you come across as seeking additional information. This allows a healthy dialogue to continue and more often than not the provider will correct a mistake without you needing to ask for it.