Communication and Body Language

Topics: Communication, Nonverbal communication, Nursing Pages: 5 (1696 words) Published: May 9, 2013
“ Communication and interpersonal skills are essential components in delivering good quality nursing care.” With reference to academic literature, you are required to discuss the elements and importance of effective communication in the context of nursing.

Communication is the way in which people can exchange information. Information can be given either verbally (use of words) or non-verbally (body language or behaviours). (DeVito (2004) as cited by Videbeck (2009). Interpersonal skills are a core nursing skill. Nurses interact with people of different cultures and walks of life on a day-to-day basis so they must be able to communicate effectively and easily to provide the highest quality of care to each patient. There are eight core elements that make up the communication process: sender (person initiating the communication process) , message (idea being communicated), channel (way in which message is communicated), receiver (person receiving message ), feedback (indication as to whether message has been received and interpreted correctly), validation (confirmation that message has been received and interpreted correctly), context (place in which communication takes place) and noise (any sound that could interrupt message being sent clearly). For the purpose of this essay the elements ‘message’ and ‘channel’ and ’feedback’ will be looked at in more detail.

‘Message’ is the verbal or non-verbal information that must be encoded (simplified) by the sender and decoded (interpreted) by the receiver. ‘Message’ is the most important part of the communication process as it includes not only the verbal but also the non-verbal. According to Argyle (1998), as cited by Guerrero, L.K (1999) , communication is five times more effective through non-verbal skills rather than verbal, in fact only 7% is verbal, 38% is to do with vocal skills (tone, speed, pitch) and 55% is visual (eye contact, body language, hand signals, posture). The person exchanging information (‘sender’), wants to express a message to the person accepting the message (‘receiver’), so particular words or movements are chosen so their message is understood. The message must be easy to understand and interpret by the receiver.(Riley-Balzer ,2000). The message element, although important, can also cause a barrier to effective communication. The sender must be able to create his message carefully and estimate the different ways the message can be interpreted to avoid confusion. The meanings that are sent might not be interpreted the same when they are received. No two people associated the same gestures or words with similar things, for example, in South America not enough eye contact is seen as disrespectful whereas in some Asian cultures too much eye contact is seen as invasive and impolite. The way in which to communicate with different cultures vary because each culture has a different set of social rules regarding proper communication. (Sheldon, 2004) Sometimes the sender may fail to communicate certain messages as they lack the proper skills and find it difficult to convey messages properly.

‘Channel’ is the way in which the message is communicated from the sender to the receiver. The receivers uses their five senses to interpret this message. This is an important aspect of effective communication as it allows the sender to choose the most appropriate way in which to communicate the message. There are many different ways this can occur : through spoken word (radio, television, conversation), to written word (article, letter, case file, books). There are advantages and disadvantages to both forms of communication. For example if a message is being communicated in a book or article , the receiver might interpret the message wrong and without the sender there to answer any questions or explain the message clearly again. Likewise in verbal communication, the nurse must be able to use simple language so that the patient can easily understand and interpret. In...
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