Patient and Nurse Rapport During Videoconferencing

By Emily Menendez - Last Updated: October 31, 2022

During the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many doctors and health care facilities closed their doors to minimize in-person interaction and spread of the virus. As a result, telehealth and videoconferencing surged in popularity as a way to receive quick medical help for minor injuries or illnesses and as a way for doctors to check in with chronically ill patients.

Forming Connections During VCVs

A key factor to successful videoconferencing experiences is to form rapport with a patient, especially if videoconferencing visits (VCVs) are on a regular schedule. Since patients and nurses do not see each other in person during VCVs, these visits can challenge a nurses’ ability to form connections with their patients and demonstrate empathy to create a sustainable nurse-patient relationship. While one form of health care videoconferencing that became routine during the pandemic was between oncology patients and nurses, there is little knowledge of nurse-patient rapport in videoconferencing environments.

A study by Koppel PD, Gagne JCD, Docherty S, et al sought to investigate the nature of nurse-patient rapport in videoconferencing for ambulatory cancer care. The objectives of the study included how cancer patients and nurses described their experiences and strategies for creating rapport, and similarities and differences in rapport during videoconferencing versus in-person visits (IPVs).

The study involved 22 patients with interviews conducted between October 2021 and March 2022. The participants included patients with cancer (45%) and oncology nurses (55%) and interviews were based on their experiences in building rapport during VCVs. Data from the nurses and patients were analyzed separately with similar procedures and a comparative analysis between the patient and nurse results was carried out for the final analysis.

Experience of Rapport in Patients and Nurses

The patients in the study mostly experienced 3 to 5 VCVs within the past 12 months (70%), and all nurses in the study had experience in videoconferencing, ranging from 3 to 960 visits. Half of the nurse participants had participated in over 100 VCVs. From the patient data, 3 themes and 6 categories were singled out, and from the nurse group, 4 themes and 13 categories were found. The comparisons of these themes from participant interviews found similarities in the way nurses and patients described the experience of rapport during VCVs.

Three of the themes taken from the collective data were:

  1. Person-centered and relationship-based care is valued and foundational to nurse-patient rapport in oncology ambulatory care regardless of how care is delivered
  2. Adapting a bedside manner to facilitate rapport during VCVs is feasible
  3. Nurses and patients can work together to create person-centered options across the care trajectory to ensure quality care outcomes.

Barriers involved in building rapport during VCVs included unexpected interruptions, faulty internet connection, privacy concerns, and limitations with not being physically present.

Overall, forming a personal connection with your patients and utilizing active listening techniques can help create nurse-patient rapport in VCVs, and being able to balance the challenges and limitations of VCVs with its positive benefits is essential to providing quality care even outside of the office.



Exploring Nurse and Patient Experiences of Developing Rapport During Oncology Ambulatory Care Videoconferencing Visits: Qualitative Descriptive Study