Be The Master Nurse of First Impressions


When a patient is admitted to your ward, department, service or nursing home, you and your workplace will be making a first impression on your new admission. Like it or not, you will either make a good one or a not so good one.


After 10 years in Patient Transport I have personally witnessed hundreds of new admissions to both hospitals and nursing homes and due to the hectic workloads we now face I have observed a big range in what my patients have experienced when first being admitted, from not being made feel welcome at all to feeling like they are returning home to family.

I have 4 quick tips on what can help to make the first few minutes of the admission process run smoothly for your patients and they only take minutes to implement.

1/ Smile: Even if you are frantic and you have nowhere to put the unexpected admission that has just arrived…remember it’s not the patient’s fault, so making them feel at ease by offering a friendly smile will go a long way towards a making a good first impression.

2/ Be friendly: While offering your smile be friendly by saying “hello and welcome” or “how was your trip?” will definitely help your patient to feel at ease and give the impression that you care about them as a person. As the first person they meet on your ward, you are in fact representing your whole ward and the patient in those precious first few minutes will be forming their opinion about your whole ward based on what you do and say.

3/ Make them comfortable: tea and flowerAny small comfort measures can make a big impression. Make them feel warm by offering a blanket from the blanket warmer. Offer a cup of tea, often a real favourite with the seniors. Many patients are transported over meal times so they miss their meal at both ends so offering a sandwich or snack can also be well received. Some patients may also require pain relief upon arrival.  Note: Some patients may be fasting or on dietary restrictions.

4/ Tell them your first name: This is what you would do for any guest visiting your home so why not extend the same courtesy to all your new admissions. Wearing a badge with your first name in big print can also act as a reminder as your new patient will no doubt be meeting many new faces with many names to remember.

You may be reading this and be thinking that I am trying to teach you how to “suck eggs”…well if you feel that way that is great as it probably means that you are already doing way more than my basic tips and are in fact treating all your new admissions to your personal VIP treatment.

I would love to hear back from you so please post a comment about what you or your ward does to roll out the red carpet.



  1. Your Care and Commitment are evident Linda you must really love your work and you obviously don’t treat it as a “job” as #14 and #15 above show that you extend yourself far beyond your Postion Description.

    Aged Care sounds as if it can be both very rewarding and challenging at the same time. The buddy system is a great idea to help de-stress the newcomers.


  2. Aged Care I do love my job Rich and yes sometimes its really hard.I just want to try and make a difference ,I would like to see a better deal for residents and staff.Thats why I am so involved with the because we care campaign.
    I am fortunate to have supportive kids who realise that it is very important to me and that I enjoy immensely being a Delegate for NSWNA.

  3. First Impressions Rich in the Nursing Home I work in we do our best to work as a team and make new admissions and visitors feel welcome.At times we may have to calll upon Management to assist with this depending what is going on in the ward.
    Usually as soon as we are able we iintroduce ourselves and get to know the resident.

  4. Well done, Rich! You are absolutely right! Extending a warm smile and making each patient feel welcome by taking time to introduce yourself to them will make a good first impression last.

  5. First Impressions Love the Blog entry Rich, you couldn’t have been more right. I think making a good first impression is very important to your patient and their family/friends, I think that they open up more to you and trust you more when you treat them with highly professional service.

  6. From someone not on the Frontline Although I am not a nurse by trade, I work with many nurses as I am the Recruitment Coordinator at JP Nurseforce that works with registered nurses on permanent and contract work. I really enjoyed reading this because everytime I see a client (nursing home) I am reminded that where I am is the resident’s home and that they have the right to be treated with dignity, respect, care in their own homes. I remember sitting down and talking with a resident whilst waiting to see the DON and he told me he used to be an ex-CEO of so and so. It reminds me that the residents have lived such amazing and interesting lives and they each have their own story to tell (if they can remember it!)

  7. RESIDENTS One of the things that really helps us in AGED CARE is if the resident has a book about their life.Some families will assist staff to get one ready when the resident has entered a facility.Sometimes this can make a massive difference in your ability to be able to atteend to that resident.Things like habits,likes or dislikes.Trigggers that will set them off track.Also when we get a chance rarely these days it s nice to be able to sit and talk with them about the OLD DAYS .PLEASE SUPPORT THE because we care campaign.

  8. start Off on the Right foot Thanks for the positive feedback I really apprecite it! Like Luke has said there is a real ripple affect once you have a great start to patient (and relative) relations. It is easy to maintain a great rapport once established. Be sure to be sincere and don’t try to “fake it until you make it “, remain professional. Rich

  9. What a nice perspective Absolutely rich! even if I am having a awful day I always try to remember that my patient would not and does not need to know that!

  10. Experience When you start at a new facility previous experience is great but each facility is different , finding your way around , learning the names of alllllllll the residents saying its the one with the grey hair and glasses doesn’t seem to work lol and so many staff ,where everything is kept and needs to go back to , so others can find it next time is so challenging but once you are there everything is great then………….. you get have a few residents depart and new ones come in and the cycle starts again aged care is never !!! boring .

  11. Experience Having just started in a new area in the NURSING HOME I can really relate to how it is for new STAFF to the facility.There is only one resident left that was down the front when I was down there before whoa.So you have to get an idea who everyone is ,likes, dislikes.behaviours not just the residents but the FAMIILIES.But it is good gives you a better insight you take more notice of little things.


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