What Is Your Nurse Demeanor?
Demeanor is the way someone seems to be to other people. Every nurse has their own unique demeanor, and developing your demeanor takes experience and reflection. Reading both verbal and nonverbal cues of other people in a variety of interactions is how you ultimately establish your own demeanor.
I can recall a moment about a year ago- cringe worthy would be the best way to describe it. I was taking care of an elderly woman; the matriarch of a loving, and brilliant family. That day was THE DAY. Her condition deteriorated rapidly, and within a single day, a sassy, spunky woman who had spent the entire day playing with her grandchildren in the family lounge, suddenly became lethargic and withdrawn. I knew that it was time for a crucial conversation, and after a long deliberation, her status was changed to comfort care.. Her family was devastated, confused, and desperate for emotional support and relief of the inevitable.
I realized that she needed a good boost in bed, so that her neck didn't slump over and her shoulders didn't tilt to the side. I called for another nurse to come and help me. Upon entering the room, my colleague (unaware of the change of events) entered the room as jolly as a christmas elf. She smiled from ear to ear and spoke with a boisterous and high pitched tone.
I cringed. No No No, I thought. Please sense the vibe in this room and change your tone!
The nurse had no idea what was going on with my patient, and how could I expect her to? However, I was resentful and almost angry at her inability to sense the the room The non-verbal expressions, the dim lighting, the soft music playing, the generations of family members entering with their suitcases, fresh off the plane.
With appreciation, that nurse is one of the best nurses that I know. However, her demeanor is unique. It's bubbly, and happy, and remains constant throughout every possible scenario. Her demeanor is neither right or wrong. It's her. It's how she stands out as a unique and beautiful individual in this world, and she is able to connect with people in the most astounding ways.
My demeanor is cool, sarcastic, and almost too agreeable at times. I see this as an asset when I'm attempting to establish trust with a difficult patient, and also as a hinderance when I'm speaking to doctors.
There is no right or wrong way to be. You can only experience the world through your own perceptions. However, I challenge you to think about your own personal nursing demeanor and how it helps you, or hinder you in this profession.
Share your thoughts below!