Nurses: Why I treat patients just like everyone else

Posted by

No added paperwork, nurses. None!

I’ve put together a curriculum for nurses called Golden Rule Care (GRC): how to build rapport and cooperation with folks who have mental illnesses. Surprisingly, GRC tools help you work with all people. How? GRC focuses on human qualities all people share, nurses and patients alike.

GRC helps nurses make work easier, more efficient and fun. I’ve been using all the GRC techniques for years now: they work. I get far more done than I used to, AND have more fun, AND more free time to use as I choose.  Nice!

Now I’m writing my first GRC book. As I go, as IT grows, I’ll share the basics here at Psych Circus. I want to keep these posts comfortably short, so for today I’ll stick to GRC’s basic structure. All my content is organized into three fundamental groups I call Rules. I’d love to call them Golden Rules but that one has long been taken, right? THE Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. That classic wisdom inspires and informs all my work… so let’s see how.


Rule One: People are people.

Rule one ignores mental illnesses, focusing instead on psychological characteristics we all share. This approach applies to all humans: nurses, patients, friends, families, strangers, everyone! It applies in most settings as well: work, home, the mall, everywhere. Unless someone is under anesthesia or in a coma, theses tools apply because I focus on universal human nature, not illnesses. You can’t talk to illnesses, and illnesses don’t makes decisions about care. People do! Traditional healthcare training largely ignores this fact to focuses on illness.  

Strange as it may sound at first, the more I learn, the more I treat my psychiatric patients like I treat everyone else. What works best at work also helps me get better service at the airport, helps me get along with all people all the time.  And if such things matter to you, regulators and managers love to see strength-based care.


Rule  Two: Everyone is unique.  

No added paperwork, remember?

With Rule One, it’s natural to wonder how I dare ignore the individually-tailored care planning so much in demand in health care. Personally, I find mandated “individualized” paperwork far too clumsy and inefficient. It wastes valuable time and energy to keep up appearances instead of serving patients.

I can’t save you from regulatory mandates, but I can offer Rule Two techniques: efficient, practical ways to tailor care in real time as you provide care. You apply basic but GRC-informed nursing process to quickly figure out what does and doesn’t work. You might document or tell others about your successes, but the process itself involves no paperwork. None! In short, GRC tailoring serves patients and yourself better without busywork.


Rule Three: Know Your Enemy.

Know yourself and know your enemy, and you will gain victory a hundred times out of a hundred – Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Now Master Sun was an ancient Chinese general. He wrote about war 2600 years ago. Why in the world would would I quote him? I promise you, I wage peace, not war!

Mutual mistrust and hostility with patients positively clobbers your productivity and quality of life. I see it all the time. Sadly, I wouldn’t be surprised if you wondered if  “your enemy” meant patients. It feels that way sometimes, doesn’t it? Sad but true. If you start feeling this way very often, it might be time for a vacation… and no, that’s not at all what I mean. 

Patients and nurses are natural allies – hence nurses’s status as America’s most trusted profession years on end. Yet they too often fall prey to misunderstandings and stereotypes, to everyone’s detriment. We can do better.

So who IS the enemy then? No, not doctors, not management, not even insurance companies. It turns out that Who is the wrong question to ask here. Our enemy here isn’t a Who, it’s a What, specifically the mental illnesses that cause so much suffering and grief. Worse, the stigma they trigger yields even more suffering and grief. These illnesses are among the top killers in America, and suicides account for a majority of gun-related deaths. Bad news enemies: bad!

Even though I treat everyone the same, I don’t ignore illnesses. Individualized care means focusing on a given person’s needs, personality and values. You can hardly ignore such a major factor as mental illness and do people justice. Education and illness-savvy care make a huge difference in building rapport and cooperation. Rule three material highlights what you need to know to put such tools to use.


So that’s it, folks, my Three Rules of GRC. In future posts I’ll go into more detail as my long slog called book-writing continues. Thanks for your time, and take for your patience with a bit of a teaser post. Details will follow.


Silly bonus time: Meet the GRC mascot, Three Hair!

Three Hair
A fun mascot is always a plus!



I love your comments! Please, take a moment & share.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s