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Nursing – Communication Skills, Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

In order to provide adequate healthcare to the clients/patients as well as promote understanding and trust between the client and the healthcare worker, one has to be proficient in both verbal and non-verbal communication. One major requirement of an effective communication is to know your audience. This means the nurses who are effective communicators take the effort to understand their patients. The ultimate goal of the sender is for the communication to be received and understood by the receiver as intended. To ensure that the message is understood in a desirable manner, the sender has to understand the characteristics of the audience (Forster, 2011). These characteristics include the background of the receiver, the communication style preferred by the receiver, and the communication needs of the receiver. Only by understanding the intended receiver, the communicator increases the probability of a successful communication. Thus, nurses have to understand their patients as well as their communication needs.

As far as verbal communication is concerned, nurses should strive to continuously improve their therapeutic communication skills. Therapeutic communication is the collection of information from the patients on their overall health and responding in both verbal and nonverbal manners in such a way that it leads to an improvement in the patients’ wellbeing as well as their understanding of the health status. The effectiveness of the therapeutic communication depends upon how well the nurse understands the background of the patient (Hill & Howlett).

Similarly, being effective in nonverbal communication also requires the nurses to concentrate on various elements. Nurses should be aware of how different symbols may be interpreted by the patients. For example, older patients often recognize their caregivers through their uniforms and would be suspicious otherwise. Similarly, tone of the language is also important because tones are important clues to the emotions of the person speaking. Similarly, body language also gives the patients clue as to what the nurse may be trying to say. If there is a conflict between the verbal message and body language, the patient may find it hard to trust the nurse and establish a reliable working relationship. Most often, patients give more weight to the body language than the verbal message being communicated. Similarly, other nonverbal elements that should be taken into account include personal space, gestures, facial expressions, eye contact, touch, and pace of communication. All of these nonverbal elements vary from culture to culture, thus, once again background knowledge of the patients will help the nurses become effective communicators. Empathy is also a powerful tool that the nurses can use to establish trustable relationship with their patients. Empathy means that the nurse takes the effort to put himself in the patients’ shoes and try to understand them from their point of view. (Hill & Howlett).

But at the same time, the nurses should also be aware of the communication barriers that may hinder an effective communication with the patients. These barriers include the failure of the nurse to understand the implications of the medical condition of the patients for communication as well as lack of knowledge about the patients’ cultures. In addition, the world is increasingly becoming diverse due to globalization and, thus, patients sometimes do not only speak different languages but also use different communication styles. Thus, the nurses should be aware of these and should not hesitate to use translators or seek assistance from co-workers from the same cultural background as the patient. (Hill & Howlett).

References

Forster, N. (2011). Maximum Performance: A Practical Guide to Leading and Managing People at Work. Saudi Arabia: Al Faisal University.

Hill, S. S., & Howlett, H. S. Communicating with Older Adults. In Success in Practical/Vocational Nursing: From Student to Leader (p. 527). Saunders.

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