Reflecting on one’s Communication Skills
Introduction Nursing students can enhance their learning through reflection that is, reflecting on a situation that involves nursing care (Parker 2006, p.115). In line with this thought, I shall reflect on an experience and discuss the communication skills I used or should have used during the patient encounter. I will use the three what model based on the work of Borton (1970) and Boud (1985) to help structure my reflection. Before going any further, I am invoking the provision in the NMC (2008) code which declares the need to respect people’s confidentiality; hence, the identity of the patient who will be cited in this reflection will be kept anonymous. He will be given a pseudonym and will simply be referred to as Mr. B What? Mr. B is a 75-year-old patient in a nursing home diagnosed with dementia. Initially, it was my mentor who initiated nursing care to him and I was instructed to continue its delivery. The rationale why my mentor assigned me to Mr. B was so I can sharpen my communication skills. During my interaction with Mr. B, I tried to remain calm and spoke in slow and short sentences. I also used simple words although at times, I cannot help but repeat what I have already said because I was not sure whether the patient understood my statements. So What? At first, I was honestly hesitant and quite nervous when I interacted with the patient. I was already aware of his condition; hence, I was in a dilemma as to how I can communicate with him. This experience helped me realise that communication is truly an important part of nursing practice. Mastering all the routine nursing tasks and other complicated nursing interventions will all have been for nothing if a nurse does not know
Nursing Essay: Sample
how to initiate a nurse-patient therapeutic relationship or interaction which naturally begins with communication. To simply put it, Ellis, Gates and Kenworthy (2003, p.214) declare that good communication is vital to effective nursing. According to Collins (2009) good communication helps build a therapeutic relationship which is central to nursing. It is a must for a nurse to be able to communicate effectively with the patient because communication is the tool that will allow the nurse to reassure a patient, empower the patient, motivate the patient, put a patient at ease, and convey understanding of the patient’s concerns (Collins 2009). I realised that communicating with a patient with dementia is more difficult than I have actually predicted. His condition was definitely the barrier that hindered effective communication. Even though I spoke in clear, short and simple sentences, there were still instances when the patient did not understand what I said or may be pretended to have not heard what I said. With this, I realise that one effective counter against such circumstance is to establish and maintain genuine rapport with the patient which can be done through frequent therapeutic conversations with the patient. Rapport entails trust and confidence of the patient to the nurse. Without, a nurse will have difficulty convincing a patient to follow instructions or adhere to advices.
The experience also led me to realise the importance of valuing non-verbal communication. Before, I honestly took for granted non-verbal communication because the patients I handled in the past had no cognitive impairments that hindered verbal communication. It was only during this experience that verbal communication is less reliable due to the patient’s condition. This experience pointed out that a patient’s facial expression, presence or absence of eye contact, and bodily gestures can all help decipher a patient’s mood, feelings and attitude towards the nurse and the interventions given by the nurse. Videbeck (2010, p.107) relate that it is crucial for a nurse to understand what a patient is trying to communicate by means of observing...