Holistic Nursing Practice: The Importance of Building Rapport

Holistic Nursing Practice: The Importance of Building Rapport
Holistic Nursing Practice: The Importance of Building Rapport

As a nurse, it’s easy to get caught up in tasks. Med passes, wound care, and dressing changes must be done, assessments must be performed, and documentation must be both accurate and completed on time.

So much time and energy go into managing tasks and documentation that it’s easy to neglect connecting and building relationships with patients. However, connecting with patients is one of the most meaningful aspects of being a nurse, and is a focus of the online RN-to-BSN program offered by Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University.

Holistic Nursing Care Improves Patient Outcomes

Holistic care means that the care provided to the patient focuses on their emotional and spiritual wellbeing, and not just their physical needs. The word “holistic” actually refers to the whole being as a sum of its parts and how they are interconnected. Improving your communication skills is one of the best ways to provide better emotional and spiritual care to your patients.

Engaging with patients and establishing rapport has been shown to play a role in helping patients heal. Patients are going through difficult times in their lives and may feel vulnerable.

Connecting with caregivers  reduces some of the stress that patients experience and helps improves outcomes. Here are a few ways to help you optimize patient care, connect with your patients and establish rapport, even during your busiest shifts.

Sit With Your Patients

Having the ability to multitask efficiently is a valuable skill in the nursing field. One way to squeeze in more personal time with patients is to sit and chat with them while completing tasks.

It’s easy to focus on completing the task and neglecting communication, but if you will be at the patient’s bedside for a few minutes it creates a perfect opportunity to become personally acquainted.

A study published in the Patient Experience Journal noted that patients report feeling as though nurses spent more time with them when they sat with them as opposed to standing.

Get to Know Your Patients

Patients notice when you make an effort to remember their personal details - their name, how they like to take their meds, and even their family members’ names. This demonstrates that you see them as a person, not just “the patient in room 27”. Patients want to know that you care who they are.

Speak on Their Level

It’s easy to explain treatments, procedures, and conditions in the terms that you were taught in nursing school. However, many patients will not understand those terms, and may even be uneasy about telling you that they don’t understand.

Some people even reflexively say that they understand, even if they do not. Avoid using too much nursing jargon and too many abbreviations - many people don’t know what an ABG, NG tube, or EKG are.

FranU Prepares Nurses for Holistic Nursing Practice

Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University’s online RN to BSN program educates nurses on the importance of providing holistic nursing care. Courses in leadership, community health nursing, and professional nursing practice help students develop their critical thinking skills, empathy, and assessment skills - all necessary for developing their own holistic practices.

FranU strives to foster spiritual, intellectual, and emotional growth in students, which provide the foundation for effective, compassionate and holistic care. Contact us to find out more about our RN to BSN program.

Check out our other blog posts on Top 5 Team Building Strategies in Nursing and What is a Holistic Nursing Approach?


Kelley, J. M., Kraft-Todd, G., Schapira, L., Kossowsky, J., & Riess, H. (2014). The influence of the patient-clinician relationship on healthcare outcomes: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. PLoS ONE, 9(4), e94207. http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0094207
Lidgett, Cari D. (2016) "Improving the patient experience through a commit to sit service excellence initiative," Patient Experience Journal: Vol. 3 : Iss. 2 , Article 11.
Available at: https://pxjournal.org/journal/vol3/iss2/11