Communication in Nursing

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The importance of communication is the essential foundation of nursing practise; it is primarily dependant upon verbal and non-verbal communication. Encompassing both speech and behavioural aspects, efficient delivery and receiving of the nurse-patient messages initiates advantageous relationships, or contrarily, generates significant repercussions if applied ineffectively, thus affecting the quality of the nurse-patient relationship. This essay will discuss how effective verbal and non-verbal communication in nursing practice will facilitate a mutually satisfying therapeutic nurse-patient relationship. It will firstly discuss verbal communication, followed on by the complementary non-verbal communication and lastly listening. However, for communication to succeed properly it must be reciprocal. This work has illustrated some examples of verbal and non-verbal communication.

Verbal communication primarily entails the conscious use of the spoken word, and although accounting for only fifteen percent of all interpersonal communication, is the principal means of expressing factual information in relations between nurse and patient (Ellis, Gates & Kentworthy, 2002). Whilst verbal communication is an imperative part of building the relationship between nurse and patient it is also just as important between nurse and colleague. A good relationship is vital to quality patient care, clearly both nurse and colleague have the same agenda, to care for the patient, improve and speed up recovery (Boal, Burke, & Mitchell 2004;Gasparis, 2004).Boal, Burke and Mitchell (2004) believe "better communication among providers can be a tremendous boon to older patients and their families; thus, improved nurse-physician communication is not only a remedy for diminished job satisfaction, it is also an elixir for improving patient care". Clearly the use of verbal communication between the nurse and colleagues affects the relationships with patients, yet there are many factors involved in the way verbal communication is expressed.

The effectiveness of this form of communication is however dependant upon several fundamental factors (Stein-Parbury, 1999). Certainly, the use of language reflecting age, gender, culture, and developmental level, is imperative in positively affecting the patient's trust and understanding. For instance, the vocabulary used when communicating with a child, will no doubt differ from that of an adult due to age difference and developmental stage. Similarly, when interacting with patients from different cultures, consideration of dialect and often-contrary meanings is a priority in nursing practice to avoid patient misinterpretation (Creasia, 1996).

Whilst vocabulary content is of great consequence, the manner in which it is applied specifically intonation, clarity and timing can affect the nurse-patient relationship (Crisp & Taylor, 2003). To illustrate, a friendly, informal warm welcome in the initial communication can establish trust (Stein-Parbury, 1999). McCabe (2004) suggests that a patient centered approach is of most importance when attending a patient. Encouraging words can give the client a sense of purpose; it can encourage interaction, gives the opportunity for self expression and can strengthen the patient's problem solving skills (Crisp & Taylor, 2003). Indeed initial verbal exchanges are critical to the establishment of a therapeutic nurse-patient relationship engendering sincerity, respect, empathy and understanding (Crisp & Taylor, 2001). Despite the undoubted ability of verbal skills affirming the nurse-patient relationship, it is non-verbal communication which comprises the majority of interpersonal relationships in nursing practice (Arnold & Blogg, 1999).

While both forms of communication are of equal significance Argyle (Chambers, 1998) suggests that "the non-verbal component ofCommunication is five more times more influential than the verbal aspect". Bensing, Caris-Verhallen and Kerkstra, (1999)...
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