We Have to Change to Help Our Patients Change

The need for behavior changes is all around us.

The majority of our HC costs are associated with chronic diseases, the management of which is highly dependent on behavior change. One of the drivers of the ACA is to curb these costs.

The National Center for Education Statistics reported that nine out of ten people lack essential skills to handle their health (AAACN, CCTM Core Curriculum, 2006).

This supports that the recurrent patients that are seen every day in emergency departments and hospitals are not patients being non-adherent or non-compliant.

It’s more about healthcare illiteracy and ineffective patient teaching and behavior change management.

Yet there’s a tendency for nurses to take this ‘frequent flyer” phenomenon personally when they see the same patients over and over again.

This leads to the inclination to blame patients for their inconsistent medication management, obesity, readmissions, etc.

This and the demands and pressures on each of you from the high rate of changes characteristic of our complex HC industry are demoralizers.

It cuts away at your sense of effectiveness. You feels like you can’t get ahead of it.

Managing change is a critical success skill for nurses and for nurse leaders.

Nurses have to change the way we approach change.

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a change conversation process increasingly being used across the healthcare system. “MI is a collaborative conversation style for strengthening a person’s own motivation and commitment to change” (Motivational Interviewing, 2013, p. 12). MI has answered the demand for an evidence based change tool as a best practice. It came from behavioral health science where it has been used with addiction counseling since the 1970s.

MI reteaches us how to listen, how to be non-judgmental, and the importance of creating a trusting relationship in helping people change behaviors.

Can we change ourselves so we can help patients change?

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