Patients make the nursing role an exciting and engaging career path. There is nothing quite like the satisfaction of knowing you have helped someone cope with a debilitating or distressing condition. However, during your time as a nurse, you will come across a variety of patients who have very different conditions and responses to the medical environment, which can require more resilience.
Assistant practice and web editor at Nursing Times, Fran Entwistle, discussed the matter of treating patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and how it is important to reflect on your own feeling when managing challenging patients. She noted that it can be difficult to relate to a patient who is putting up a lot of resistance and pointed out the importance of understanding their condition.
Writing for Nursing Times, she said: "Nurses join the profession wanting to help people. But trying to care for someone who appears to be thwarting attempts to be helped can leave health professionals feeling hopeless. It can be difficult to empathise with someone whose behaviour doesn't always appear to fit with what they are saying." Indeed, she argued it was hard to "put yourself in someone's shoes" when they are attempting to avoid discharge.
While education plays a crucial role in preparing nurses for the hospital environment, a certain level of understanding can only come with experience. Over the course of your career, you should become more accustomed to the challenges of working with patients with BPD, but talking to your seniors can also help with finding out tips on how to manage a wide scope of patients. Remember that a person with BPD has little control over their behaviour and can sometimes lose touch with reality. It is important to stay grounded and keep the facts in mind if a patient is proving difficult. After all, the service you are delivering is vital to their recovery, so there is plenty of value in knowing you are doing your very best.
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