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Tackle abusive behaviour, build patient-nurse rapport

I am disturbed to read of the abusive behaviour by some patients and their relatives towards nurses ("Physical and verbal abuse against nurses 'on the rise' "; last Sunday ).

When frustrated, some impatient patients and relatives lose their cool and take it out on the nurses. More efforts need to be put in place to turn such a negative situation into a positive one.

First, abusers need to be sent for counselling and anger management programmes to control their tempers.

If an abuser manages his temper poorly, it might affect his relationships at home, in his workplace and with his friends.

Second, abusers should, after being trained, serve in hospitals doing some form of community work, so that they experience what it is like to be a nurse.

Only then will they learn to appreciate our nurses better.

Third, a "model patient" scheme, in which an exemplary patient could win a prize, should be put in place.

Such prizes could include holiday packages for both the winners and the nurses who nominate them.

This will motivate others to emulate the winners' good behaviour.

At the Institute of Mental Health, volunteers sing and read to patients, as well as take them for outings, with the nurses tagging along.

This programme not only helps to build excellent rapport with the patients, but also aids in patients' recovery.

Thus, my fourth suggestion is for all other hospitals to have such a bonding programme in place to improve the relationship between nurses and patients and their families.

Raymond Anthony Fernando

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 03, 2016, with the headline 'Tackle abusive behaviour, build patient-nurse rapport'. Print Edition | Subscribe