The Real Spanish Academy of Language (RAE) defines “Humanize” as “Making something or someone having a look or nature human or showing influence of humans, or confer a more human character (in a moral sense), doing something nicer or less rigorous”.

If it is a term defined and so well explained by the RAE, why do not we humanize the care?. How can we humanize them?

Care should be and aim to improve the quality of life promoting the autonomy of the patient, without forgetting that they must be the center of attention, where we as professionals should adapt to them, not them to us.

Sometimes health providers lose the essence of care, hiding behind the excuse of lack of time or insufficient resources, forgetting the care of the invisible in our daily work.

Our patients are human beings so: why do we miss humanize the day by day?. It is a question that all health providers should ask ourselves. We should analyze why we lose the essence that characterizes nursing. That essence is not based on which we can do, if not in how we do it. This is the icing on the cake or the line that makes the difference, it is the point where people remind the care and this period of their lives as something positive or their worst nightmare.

The humanization of care is not a sterile technique nor difficult to do, basically because it´s not a technique, because it comes from our more human side. Humanizing are facts and normal actions that human being carries out daily in life and can be applied together with the daily care.

These actions or events are as simple as a smiling, giving privacy, respecting… They are making also more human relationship between patientes and healthcare providers.

After making this reflection, I think we just have to follow ten actions or acts to humanize our care:

If I as a professional know the patient’s name, why do not let they knowing mine? 

* When the patient is identified after his/her presentation, we should call him/her by the name.

* Why do we speak technical language to an elderly person, adult or child, if we know that they will not understand us?. We should talk in an easy language.

* We do not us a number to a person, they have their own name.

* Let them participate in the decision-making process, in order to facilitate their autonomy.

* A smile is marked in the soul, is one of the best inventions in history. Let´s using it!.

* Bring us closer to our patients and their families, having a respectful but close contact (they do not burn or harm us).

* If they respect our views, beliefs, values and desires, who are we not to do it?. Respect is essential to make this relationship close and humanized.

* For humanization, there are also a few and magical “keywords” and as simple as “Hello”, “Goodbye”, “Sorry”, “Please” and “Thank you”.

* Respect their living space. It is theirs during the admittance.

This are ten basic actions to stop being a nurse and become an H-nurse

Alejandro Lendínez
Nurse at Neurorehab Unit. Fundación Instituto San José