The ability to communicate effectively with others is fundamental to all patient care and it is widely considered that effective communication is a significant determinant of patient compliance, satisfaction and recovery (Faulkner 1998, p.1). It is not surprising therefore, that the Royal College of Surgeons rank the skill of effective communication equally with technical competence within the theatre environment (Mansfield, Collins, Phillips, Ridley & Smith 2002, p.1 – 50) (appendix b).
The skills involved in providing effective communication are vast and varied, however, due to the word constraint of this essay it has not be possible to explore every aspect of communication. Therefore, only aspects deemed by the author, to be relevant to clinical practice are discussed.
There are various modes of communication, verbal, non verbal and written (Dyke 2000, p.67). Verbal communication, described as the “What” of communication, concerns the words we use to explain our feelings, ideas and emotions and integral within verbal communication is the process of effective or active listening (Ralston 1998, p8 -11).
Non verbal communication, described as the “How” of communication, relates to how we speak both unconsciously and consciously (Ralston 1998, p8 -11) and...