It All Comes Down To Nurse – Patient Engagement

For patients, nurses and the healthcare system, it all comes down to nurse – patient engagement.

Nurse-Patient Engagement

Patients want it and need it to:

  • Feel safe in their most vulnerable moments
  • Feel heard / understood
  • Feel cared for
  • Heal

Nurses want it and need it to:

  • Reenergize their practice
  • Validate their mission, why they came into nursing
  • Find meaning in their workimages-8
  • Sustain their careers
  • Feed their souls


Healthcare leaders want it and need it for:

  • Patient satisfaction
  • Quality outcomes
  • Value based purchasing
  • The bottom line, to sustain reimbursement

Healthcare system makes it difficult related to:

  • Ever-changing advancements in medical science
  • Ongoing, rapid advancements in technology
  • Limited HC resources for caring consciousness competencies

Nurses find it challenging related to:

  • So many distractions
  • So many competing demands
  • Fear (the root of all personal challenges)
  • Lack of confidence in self and/or the work environment
  • Lack of clarity in how to achieve it in the chaotic HC work setting

What is the nature of engagement?

  • What is it?
  • What is the source of engagement?
  • Do nurses come into nursing with this capacity built in?
  • What does it require?
  • How does one develop engagement?

“Engagement – A capacity to connect and be with another in an intersubjective, mutual, and authentic manner while honoring complexity and ambiguity” (Dossey, et al, 2015, p. 51).

“Engaging is a process by which both parties establish a helpful connection and a working relationship” (Miller & Rollnick, 2013, p. 26).

Engagement requires a connection. That connection can spark within a second or take time.

It’s impacted by the environment, the nurse’s mindset and the patient’s state of mind. It always starts with the nurse.

The source of these connections is nurtured by the nurse’s internal resources.

This inner process comes from within the nurse and can only be sustained by the nurse.

Patients, nurses and the healthcare system are all invested in the viability of these connections.

And how to help nurses achieve this in our current healthcare system is the real challenge.



Dossey, B.M., Luck, S., & Schaub, B.G. (2015) Nurse coaching. North Miami: International Nurse Coach Association.

Miller, W.R. & Rollnick, S. (2103). Motivational interviewing, Helping people change (3rd ed.). New York: Guilford Press.


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