It takes 7 seconds for somebody to make an impression of you the first time you meet. As a professional nurse, we are constantly meeting new people: patients, their families, new physicians, new nurses, ancillary staff, etc. How you introduce yourself, what you wear, what you say and how you say it during those first few moments will determine their confidence in you as a professional nurse.
To make a good first impression, follow these 5 steps:
1. Be on time – You will lose credibility immediately by arriving late for a meeting, appointment, or even when you tell a patient when you will return and you don’t. It can build or destroy trust with your colleagues and your patients.
2. Dress professionally – Are you inspiring confidence in your patients and the other members of the healthcare team but what you are wearing? When working as a professional nurse, not only are you representing yourself but you are also representing the nursing profession. Consider the following:
a. Uniforms should be clean and pressed (avoid cartoons and “hoodies”)
b. Hair conservative, clean and “normal color”
c. Make-up and jewelry minimal
d. Nails clean and reasonable length
e. Clean shoes
3. Maintain good eye contact – Looking at the person you are talking with implies that you are interested in them. It makes them feel important, projects openness and keeps their attention. By not looking at somebody in the eye, it often gives the impression of disinterest, unimportance and mistrust.
4. Engage in conversation – Learning to engage the other person in conversation is a key step to building relationships. It makes the other person believe that you are interested in them and it opens the door for communication.
5. Be confident – Confidence is rocket fuel for business. Patients, their families, and your colleagues want to believe that you are competent and knowledgeable. We show our competence by what we do, what we say and how we say it. Introducing ourselves with a firm handshake, looking at the person in the eye and engaging them in conversation convey respect and self-confidence.
Hope this helps
Take care and stay connected!