Learning the art of patience when working with older people

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patience when working with older people

It’s difficult to develop patience in this fast-paced world where we’re constantly encouraged to keep moving and making progress. However, if working with vulnerable people, you will need to discover ways to slow down and accept a slower pace of doing things.

Dealing with individuals

If you’ve chosen a caring profession, seeing each person you work with as an individual with different needs and difficulties could help you develop and show patience towards them. It’s unlikely they are being intentionally awkward. Thinking about how you might want your own family members to be treated in this situation could have a positive impact on the way you treat them.

When working as a geriatric nurse practitioner, you will have taken intensive training and gained qualifications such as those offered by Wilkes. These provide you with a solid base for working with vulnerable groups of people and will prepare you for some of the difficult situations you might face. However, developing patience could be something you have to work on, especially if you’re typically used to doing things at a quicker pace. Having the opportunity to take on a placement as part of your qualification can help you put this into practice.

Listening 

Nursing isn’t the kind of job where you can do the minimum amount required of you and simply move on to the next person. Often, the people you care for will want to be heard. They may take longer than others to say what they need. Listening and hearing what they have to say can help put their minds at ease. Sometimes, it can even help you realize any other problems that haven’t been dealt with or diagnosed. This is another reason why it’s so important to learn patience if this is an aspect you struggle with. 

Dealing with difficult situations

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If a patient is refusing help or struggles with memory and has forgotten something you said just a minute earlier, it can be easy to snap, especially if you’re having a bad day yourself. Leaving your own problems at home is easier said than done, but that’s what you need to do. Learning to repeat yourself if necessary, and just as calmly as saying it for the first time, is something you need to develop. 

The people in your care will respond better if you show understanding and patience. If you try to offer help that isn’t wanted, but is needed, you could rephrase the offer by explaining why it needs to be done. Listen to any worries they have and put their mind at ease in words they will understand. It may take longer but arguing and making them feel like they have little choice in the matter will only cause further upset.

Patience may seem like a difficult skill to acquire and develop, but it’s just about slowing down, listening and showing kindness to people who may be confused or have valid concerns, and doing what you can to ease those worries.

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