The 'difficult' nurse-patient relationship: Development and evaluation of an e-learning package

Nurses in most clinical settings experience difficult 'nurse patient relationships' at various times. Attempts to describe and articulate how to manage such difficult relationships can be found, but often lay blame at the patient level and ultimately leave the nurse less confident to improve patient care. This study uses an action research approach in working with nurses in a generalist setting in developing an educational strategy that helped to improve their knowledge, skills and confidence in working within the 'difficult nurse patient relationship' paradigm. Through the experiential style learning methodology of scenario based learning and applying this via e-learning, an effective educational approach has been developed. Using a quasi-experimental design to evaluate the e-learning package, significant increases in knowledge, skill, confidence and reduced nurse stress as measured on the 'difficult patient stress scale' were shown. This approach allows nurses to reflect on their own behaviour and improve their ability to enhance patient care in difficult to manage nursing care situations. Keywords: nursing; nurse patient relationship; difficult patients; mental health liaison.

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