Communication in Healthcare

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The aim of this assignment is to explain communication and why it is important in healthcare. This will be accomplished by defining communication and exploring the different types of communication and how it is linked to clinical practice. Balzer-Riley (2004) defines communication as a reciprocal process in which messages are sent, given or exchanged between a source and a receiver. This definition is based on the belief that communication involves the use of words and paralanguage to construct, send and interpret messages. The sender transmits messages by encoding them into verbal or nonverbal symbols that the receiver can understand. This is known as the circular model of communication as it takes into consideration factors such as culture, beliefs, values, skills, age, gender and noise which may influence their approach and response. However, Ellis et al (2003) did not concur with this view. His definition describes communication as the process of sending, receiving and decoding information between two or more people. Ellis et al (2003) calls this one way communication. This is also known as linear model of communication. There are four main forms of communication, verbal, nonverbal, written or electronic. Verbal communication uses words to communication needs, feelings, thoughts and ideas. However, meaning of words can differ because of paralanguage such as tone and pitch of volume. This can take place whilst the interaction is taking place. (McCabe and Timmins 2006) Non-verbal communication is the act of speaking without using words. This might be through using body language, facial expression, gestures, proximity, touch, eye contact, signs and symbols. Appearance and even body odour can be a form of non verbal communication. Department of Health (2010) describes communication to be central to human interaction. Without it, people cannot relate to those around them, make their needs and concerns known or make sense of what is happening to...
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