Le May (2004) defines communication as a process of exchanging a message intentionally or unintentionally between two or more people using either both verbal and non verbal communication skills. In order for communication to be effective, the sender and the receiver must have a clear understanding of what is being communicated, because a breakdown can have a negative outcome (Riley 2008). Effective communication is an essential tool used throughout the healthcare profession. The reason why communication is so vital in the healthcare profession is due to the simple fact that peoples lives are at risk if communication fails (Riley 2008). Yet research shows that poor communication is one of the general complaints in the healthcare profession (Campbell 2006). Communicating effectively will help us to understand the needs and the expectations of the patient (Neville & Donnelly 2008). It also assists the nurse to a better understanding of what they are doing and also enhances their morale and promotes job satisfaction. It also enables us to provide the highest possible standard of care (Towers 2008).
Communication can be verbal and non verbal (Rana and Upton 2009). Verbal communication entails the formation of words either by writing, orally, or sign language, whereas non-verbal communication includes body language, facial expression, touch, posture, gesture, gaze and active listening (Rana and Upton 2009). Le May (2004), describes non-verbal communication as the act of using our behaviour to portray a message without the use of spoken words either intentionally or unintentionally. Non verbal communication has been acknowledged as the most powerful form of communication (Rana and Upton 2009). Mehrabian (1971 cited in Rana and Upton 2009) suggested that facial expression account for fifty-five percent of our communication, for example a patient’s facial expression clearly displaying pain, but verbally stating he is fine. It is vital that nurses become aware of these non-verbal communication cues to help them identify the mood or the condition the patient may be in, so as to determine how best to approach or deal with the patient (Sheldon 2009).
As mentioned in the SWOT (Appendix 1) I have realise that my strength are being able to approach people, talk to them with an open mind and not being judgemental, as well as maintaining confidentially as it is important. I was also able to use touch as a way of assuring a patient as stated in my evidence of strength (SWOT). .
The aim within my SWOT is to develop the skill of active listening. As a student nurse, acquiring these skills will enable me to become a better nurse. Active listening can be seen as an element for a patient’s care (Sheldon 2009). Active listening as a skill requires your full attention because it is not just hearing their spoken words, but what the underlying thoughts and feelings are by looking at their body language such as gesture (Moss 2008). It involves asking open and close questions which encourages and empowers the patient to talk more openly about their problems (Arnold and Boggs 2007). It also uses paraphrasing, summarizing and clarifying to eliminate the guesswork to ensure messages are received properly (Lloyd and Bor 2009, Riley 2007). As the Nursing and Midwifery Council code of conduct (2008) emphasises, that by making the patient your first priority and listening with an open mind, mixed with facial expression and body language such as posture and gesture (Riley 2007), it will help in gaining important information and relay it to the rest of the health care team. This is vital because it provides a basis for a therapeutic relationship between patient and nurse which can then promote holistic...