How to respond to patients’ emotions

When emotions like stress, frustration, anger, or grief arise during conversations with your patients and their families, you shouldn’t ignore them. Instead, you can use six specific skills to respond to and address them.

Hayden Richards, MD MBBS FACEM MPhil
Hayden Richards, MD MBBS FACEM MPhil
28th Mar 2023 • 1m read

The acronym N.N.U.R.S.E. summarizes six essential skills you should use when addressing patients' emotions. The key is to have more options so that you can use a combination of these skills, or try different solutions, depending on the situation. In this lesson, you will learn these six skills and how to use them.


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There are specific and definable skills that can help you communicate with your patients. Every clinician should be able to build trust, adapt their communication to patients of different backgrounds, and structure difficult conversations. Mastering these skills will make you a better clinician.