Why Health Workers Need to Be Emotionally Unattached to Patients

It is a fine line between caring for your patients and becoming too emotionally invested in their outcomes. How do you find the balance?

by Jessica Radburn

Being a health worker is not just about knowing proper health care, but it is also about having the heart to genuinely take care of patients. The best health workers are those who show compassion and empathy to every patient – not because it is their job to take care of sick people, but it is because every patient deserves proper care, respect, and dignity.

However, it is not always that easy. Health workers can sometimes forget to draw the line, and it is also hard to not get attached to some patients (especially after taking care of them for quite some time).

But it is still important for health workers to maintain professionalism on the job. Being too emotionally involved with your patients can affect your judgment, and this could cause conflicts with the patient’s family members and doctors. The key here is to know how to balance empathy and objectivity – but how do you draw the line?

Drawing the Line Between Empathy and Objectivity

In such a profession, how do you draw the line between empathy and objectivity? You need to take care of your patients for sure, but how can you maintain a certain level of detachment?

It is very easy to befriend and get attached to patients – especially when you get to see and take care of them over the course of a few months or years. We’re just humans after all. It is natural to feel bad when your patient is not doing well, or if he/she dies.

But getting too emotionally involved with your patients can affect your job (both in performance and judgment). To keep a balance between empathy and objectivity, keep these following tips in mind:

  1. Maintain boundaries: It is natural to be friendly and caring towards your patients, but there’s a line that should not be crossed. Showing favoritism or exchanging numbers is not appropriate. Talk to your patients but don’t overindulge in chit chats.
  2. Remember to keep it professional: Your patients are there to be treated, they are not actually there to make friends. Of course, you still have to genuinely care for them and see to it that they get proper care and medication. But as much as possible, don’t go beyond that. Be amiable, but professional.
  3. Leave work at work: Caring for many ill people can take an emotional toll. Once you leave work, you have to give yourself space to zone out and unwind. Rest and find activities that can help you relax and chill for a while.
  4. Report to your supervisor if a patient is being inappropriate: If a patient is making you uncomfortable or if he/she has crossed your boundaries, don’t hesitate to tell your supervisor. The supervisor can guide you on how to handle the situation properly.

Why Empathy is Important For Health Workers

Having empathy is a must in the nursing profession. Taking care of your patient’s health and well-being is your primary job, and the genuine care you show towards patients will help them relax and be at ease. They will be confident that they are getting the proper health care and medication. These are important if you want to ensure that the patient can recover fast.

Why Health Workers Should Maintain Objectivity

Although compassion and empathy are needed to help treat patients better, objectivity is also required too. An objective health worker can provide quality healthcare without being bias. A sense of neutrality should be maintained so that health workers can provide care and attention to every patient – regardless of condition, social status, or personal bonds.

Failing to maintain objectivity can cause conflicts between you, the doctors, other health care professionals, and even your patient’s family members. This is because there is a tendency that you would bring in your own decisions when it comes to the medical procedure and treatment that the patient should receive – and this is not part of your job.

Although you might want to ensure that your patient gets the best options when it comes to care and treatment, you don’t have to force your wishes if the patient, the doctor or their family members are not comfortable about it. As a health worker, your job is to respect the patient and follow the doctor’s orders when it comes to their medication and treatment.

Jessica Radburn is a seasoned writer who excels in writing interesting articles using extensive research. She has worked with several clients across different industries such as advertising, online marketing, technology, healthcare, family matters, and more. She is also an aspiring entrepreneur who is currently engaged in a company that helps provide technological assistance through useful tips and tricks.

Find out more about her company here: https://oxfordhousetherapy.com/

Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.