10 Ways To Build Rapport With Patients

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10 Ways To Build Rapport With Patients

A nurse’s relationship with their patient cannot be stressed enough. Building rapport with patients is crucial because it fosters a positive connection. It helps you empathize with your patients and communicate effectively. The stronger the bond is, the improved patient care will be. 

However, a rapport-based approach is not suited to every situation. Building rapport with patients begins with understanding their communication preferences and health status. Sadly, no course offers lessons on how to build rapport with patients. Practice is the only way to master this skill.

While nurses have a harder time building rapport with some patients than others, they should make an effort. Here are ten ways to help you build rapport with patients, even if they are in the hospital for a short stay. 

  1. Make sure you look good

How you look should not create barriers between you and people but help you connect with them. To be safe, dress just a bit “better” than the person you’re about to meet. A person pleasing to the eye is likely to make an impression. However, make sure to not overdress for the occasion, or it will be counteractive.

  1. Be gentle in your gestures

The way you maintain eye contact can express care, compassion, and interest in your patient’s situation. You express empathy and show that you understand the patient’s circumstances with a gentle touch or a slight nod. Your one small, kind action can make them feel hopeful. 

  1. Follow the nursing care plan

Care plans allow nurses to provide evidence-based, patient-centered care to all their patients. Nursing programs by La Salle provide students with the skills to design an individualized nursing plan, analyze the situation critically, and implement that plan. Nurses with experience already know how to accomplish this without documenting it and often without even realizing they are doing it.

  1. Demonstrate Empathy

Empathy is the ability to understand a patient’s perspective, feelings, and situation. It helps nurses provide a more personalized level of care. A nurse who is empathetic communicates and acts based on their understanding of their patient.

  1. Communicate openly

According to one study, open communication is one of the essential nurse skills needed for success. It is the key to improving patient outcomes.

Moreover, understanding their communication preferences and state of mind also helps develop a rapport with them. You can achieve this by being clear with them on changes in order or their condition. You can also encourage your patient to share their feelings with you. 

  1. Keep it simple

Here are a few basics of good communication:

  • Be culturally sensitive
  • Always smile
  • Let yourself relax
  • Remember the names of your patients
  • Maintain good posture and hold your head up
  • Be attentive and listen carefully
  • Don’t overstay your welcome

Great communication is built on these basic principles. You will have a hard time establishing rapport without them, as they will help you establish trust, empathy, and the feeling that you are listening to other people.

  1. Create a personal connection

Life as a patient can be scary – it’s a new environment with unfamiliar people. Being friendly will help patients relax. As a nurse, you must get to know your patients to make their stay more comfortable. Ask them about their friends, family, hobbies, and other significant facts about their lives. 

When you communicate your desire to understand them as a person and not just as a patient, you establish rapport with them.

  1. Enhance your listening skills

Holistic healthcare relies heavily on active listening. Using this method, patients can share their thoughts and feelings without feeling intruded upon. 

Here is how to engage in active listening:

  • Take the patient’s words into consideration.
  • Validate their feelings.
  • Repeat what they have said.
  • Confirm with the patient that you understand them correctly.

Listening actively is about eliciting the feeling or intent behind someone’s words. Try to listen for understanding rather than to respond. Active listening is one of several approaches to building rapport.

  1. Seek common ground

Find something you both share through small talk to establish rapport. You can discover personal information by asking open-ended questions. For example, you can ask if they attended the same college, what their hobbies are, where they grew up, or if they support the same sports team as you do. By simply expressing your frustration over traffic that delayed your commute to work, you can improve your relationship with someone.

  1. Learn how to mirror

We like people that we perceive as similar to ourselves. In order to build rapport, mirroring and matching can be used to create a more similar feeling.

It’s not just about what you say but also how you say it. The words we use to communicate emotions or attitudes constitute only 7% of what we say. Our voice makes up about 38% of who we are, and 55% comes from our body language. If you fail to consider the “whole picture” of communication, you’re going to miss a trick.

You can build rapport by using these techniques:

  • Keep an eye on the other person’s gestures, posture, and expression. Make sure you’re resting your chin on your right hand if he rests his on his left.
  • Try to adopt the same temperament as theirs. You should behave in a similar manner no matter what the other person is like, whether they’re introverted or outgoing.
  • Make use of similar language. If they speak directly, you should follow suit. If they speak in technical terms, then you should do the same.
  • Take care to match the tone, tempo, and volume of the other person’s speech.

Building a rapport with the patient is as simple as matching his demeanor, disposition, and rhythm. A loud patient may even require you to raise your voice to synchronize with them. Once you’re connected, you can also take the lead and help them to a better place by speaking in a lower voice or moving slowly. Mirror the patient’s energy in difficult conversations to understand their perspective better.

Keeping it subtle will help the other person feel comfortable and not freaked out. People who understand body language will be able to recognize when you’re mirroring, and this will have the opposite effect of what you were hoping for. Therefore, it is crucial not to become mechanistic – instead, be relaxed and appropriate. Mastering the art of mirroring and matching can be challenging. However, keep in mind that we all unconsciously mirror our families, friends, and colleagues on a daily basis.

  1. Share experiences with them

A relationship cannot grow without human interaction, and one of the best ways to do that is to share new experiences. It can be as simple as sharing a conference session or as complex as collaborating on a new management system. When you and the other person work together to define problems, formulate solutions, and design strategies, you can create a closer relationship.

  1. Be True to Your Words

Keeping your word also helps to build a positive relationship with patients. Make sure you always follow through on your promises. If you think you cannot accomplish a task they’re expecting you to do, notify them right away. Avoid overpromising and underdelivering. This will build rapport as well as trust in your relationship with them.


There isn’t a manual on how to build rapport with patients. Some techniques will come easier to you than others. Practice each of these ten ways to build rapport and choose the ones that come most naturally to you in your daily practice.

Originally posted 2022-06-14 06:20:29.

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