Therapeutic Relationship in Nursing

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Every day nurses interact with numerous people; the most important of these are their patients. For this interaction to be meaningful and have a positive impact on the health outcomes of the patient, the nurse needs to build interpersonal connections with the patient to form a therapeutic relationship. The nurse also needs to be aware of the patient’s culture and practice in a culturally safe way when establishing this relationship. In this essay the main characteristics of both interpersonal connectedness and the therapeutic relationship will be described using relevant literature. It will then go on to describe culture and cultural differences and then finally discuss how the cultural difference of the patient speaking a different language, may impact on the nurse’s ability to communicate effectively in the development of this relationship. For the nurse to develop interpersonal connectedness, there are certain characteristics that enhance the nurse’s ability to relate effectively to patients as people first, and as patients second. Five of the most important characteristics are authenticity and congruence, respect and warmth as well as assertiveness (Stein-Parbury, 2009). Authenticity is defined as the degree to which people are true to their own self regardless of the pressures of the world around them (Starr, 2008). In nursing this means the nurse will allow the patient to witness their true identity (Balzer Riley, 2008). Congruence then relates back to authenticity by the nurse being consistent with their true identity, feelings and actions (Stein-Parbury, 2009). Together authenticity and congruence forms genuineness (Balzer Riley, 2008). Furthermore, respect is described as the belief that all humans have an inherent worth for who their individuality (O’Toole, 2008). Patients who feel respected are more likely to be themselves and communicate what they are experiencing. Warmth has been identified as a non-verbal form of communication that shows the...
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