Taking the time to get to know the moms-to-be and new moms you work with is key to building trust and rapport. Establishing these connections results in a more meaningful experience for your students and patients.
Below are some practices you can put in place to build stronger, more authentic relationships with the moms under your care.
Make them feel comfortable
Be calm and friendly, remaining cognizant about making eye contact in your interactions. This type of demeanor prevents the moms you work with from feeling rushed and signals that you care about their welfare. The more quickly they are at ease with you, the easier it is to build trust.
Address them by their name
When you first meet any new student or patient, ask them what name/nickname they prefer — then remember it! When you take the time to learn their preferred name, it conveys respect and demonstrates that you view them as an individual, not a number.
Learn about who they are
Go beyond a woman’s medical status and learn about any hobbies or interests she has, other family members, and anything else that will help you discover who she is as a person. Spending just an extra two or three minutes focusing on this (and listening when doing so) can make her feel more comfortable and, in turn, strengthen your relationship.
Trying to see things from the perspective of the mom-to-be will help you better understand how she's feeling. Empathizing will make the women you work with feel supported and validated. It will also help them relate to you as both a healthcare professional and a person.
The moms you work with look to you as a reputable source from whom to get useful and reliable information. Be there to answer any questions they may have and address their concerns. When appropriate, provide them with educational materials such as books and articles, websites, videos, and community resources that will help them understand their situation.
If you tell a new mom or expectant mom you will do something, such as email her some resources or call her with the contact information of a colleague, follow through and actually do it. Doing what you say you're going to do builds credibility and shows you really care.
Follow these tips and you’ll find that building relationships with your new and expectant moms will come easily.