There is no doubt that communication between nurses and patients can influence the process of treatment, and this is why it has to be studied. Among other things, nurses are supposed to be ready to provide the patient with emotional support because it is also a factor contributing to the positive outcome of the treatment. Therefore, it can be stated that nurses’ ability to communicate with patients in an effective way is one of the key components of high-quality healthcare services. Due to improved communication skills, nurses may also prevent certain medical errors.
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There are two types of communication between nurses and patients that involve the use of verbal and non-verbal signs (Hood, 2013, p. 82). As for the first subgroup, it includes everything that is connected to speaking (for instance, asking questions, making statements, giving a piece of advice). Although this means of communication may be regarded as universal, there are particular situations when they are ineffective. For example, it is obvious that they cannot be used during the work with patients who suffer from certain hearing disorders. Nonverbal means of communication include gestures, body language, visual contact, and smiles. As for the role of nurses in communication, it is important to say that they usually initiate it. They can do it in order to demonstrate their kindness and caring attitude, and many patients tend to feel safer when they are treated in such away. There are a lot of strategies that may be used to ensure the emotional inclusion of the patient but the most effective ones are connected to calling the patient’s name, the use of hand signals, and having visual contact. Quite the opposite, the absence of these components often causes patients’ dissatisfaction.
Despite the apparent simplicity of the process of communication between nurses and patients, there are certain factors that may cause problems if they are not paid enough attention to; due to that, it is possible to say that there are gaps that should be filled with the help of special practice. For instance, there are certain means of communication that are often underestimated by nurses. They include the use of hand signs and facial expressions that allow to explain the ideas to patients and show the attitude towards them.
Furthermore, there is a certain undervaluation of practices that may be helpful during the work with disabled people or when there is a need to exchange the information that belongs only to the patient; such practices involve writing or drawing the messages for the patients on a sheet of paper. To continue, in order to communicate with the patients having speech disorders or some illnesses affecting the ability to talk, nurse specialists should pay more attention to inventing newer ways helping to share the information with the patient (such as codes and other systems of signs). In order to make all the patients familiar with the signs and meanings in this system, a lot of tools such as notices and pick-up materials can be used. To provide patients with better care, it is also necessary for nurses to communicate and work together with other health specialists such as physicians (Fewster-Thuente, 2015, p. 357).
In the end, there are a lot of means of communication (both verbal and nonverbal) that are successfully used by nurses working in the intense care unit. Nevertheless, there are also approaches to information sharing that need to be used more often. They include the use of gestures and developing the system of visual signs that is essential in many situations.
Fewster-Thuente, L. L. (2015). Working together toward a common goal: A grounded theory of nurse-physician collaboration. MedSurg Nursing, 24(5), 356-362.
Hood, L. (2013). Leddy & Pepper’s conceptual bases of professional nursing. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
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