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The only purpose of the paper is to identify the numerous aspects that drive effective communication, the effects of ineffective communication on decision making, and potential methods to improve communication between a nurse and a patient. Communication is important in health care settings, particularly between nurses and patients, because it determines the success of the diagnosis process. Nurses should be able to display outstanding hospitality, sincerity, and decorum for the sake of treatment and a stronger relationship. As a result, it is much easier to avoid patient reports of nursing misbehavior. However, a registered nurse is better in communication process basing on the experience, academic qualification, and physical abilities. An experienced nurse knows how to handle and tolerate a different kind of patient's behaviors both under hostile and friendly environment. A nurse is also able to avoid mistakes in decision making as well as improves the degree of care to patients.
Keywords: patient, nursing care, communication, nurse, nursing, healthcare
Types of Communication
A practicing nurse engages patients in a dialogue on a daily basis. However, improving this interpersonal interaction is a major issue of concern because of reported complaints by patients. Communication involves the exchange of feelings and thoughts, therefore for therapeutic purpose, a nurse uses the information acquired to find out the nature of an illness and determine the treatment plan. A nurse, who is an effective communicator, uses a simple and acceptable language while in the line of duty for patients to comprehend the message easily. He or she also bears in mind the patient's capabilities and education background to choose the right language. The types of communication that take place between a patient and a nurse are oral communication such as face to face communication and formal communication (Arnold, & Boggs 2016). Verbal communication helps to improve the bond between the patient and the nurse; hence it is easy to obtain confidential medical background of a patient. In another context, formal communication is the necessary prescription of drugs and carrying out medical laboratory experiments. More so, the use of nonverbal cues such as body movement, tonal variation, and facial expression helps to determine the pain a patient is going through and also shows the acknowledgment of the nurse on the circumstance and the kind of the disease.
According to Elain Bramhall, a nursing practitioner points out various factors that lead to negative communication experiences. They include lack of privacy, noise, prejudgment, fear and anxiety, and weak self-expression. For instance, it’s hard for a female patient to communicate freely to a male nurse because of gender sensitivity. Physical examination can cause a male or female patient to report a case of intimidation or harassment. The gender difference is critical in determining effective communication because women are naturally perceived good caregivers than men. Although the feminists have argued that gender gap propagates gender inequality, it is a significant barrier to effective communication. The patient can hide valuable information that might be crucial in initiating a medical treatment plan. Additionally, it is hard for a kid to express how he or she is suffering due to poor communication skills. For this reason, age-specific is necessary for patient care because of unique characteristics attributed to each age group. There is a variance in physical and mental abilities. A hospital that lacks designations such as Neonatal and Infant, Child and Adolescent, Adult and Geriatric for every age group causes failure in communication.
On the other hand, lack of cultural competence compromises the nursing communication. The lack of respect for other cultures kills the fundamentals of patient advocacy in nursing. It leads to cases such as stereotyping, racism and prejudice. The inability of nurses to embrace cultural diversity at the workplace breaks down the communication process. Many complaints arise in healthcare because most of the nurses do not possess excellent communication skills. They create problems with patients due to poor communication hence compromising the level of satisfaction in nursing. Medical errors are committed due to poor communication skills. Consequently, it leads to deaths of many patients because of administering of wrongly prescribed drugs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a report in 2013, indicating a massive death toll of 440,000 patients who dies every year from preventable medical errors (Potter, Perry, Stockert, & Hall 2016).
It is important to determine what the patient knows and what he or she wants to know. It is a good strategic move because a nurse will attain information about the nature of the illness, medical history and report on a new medication. The first-hand information from a patient about a particular health condition helps to avoid patient's misconceptions and misjudgments. For example, a nephrologist can encourage a patient to get well after performing a renal test. However, it is a priority to find out what a patient expects about his or her health condition. For example, some will prefer a detailed information report while others will not. Therefore, to avoid information overload, a nurse should meet the patient's expectations and needs. For instance, it is evident that a nurse starts by explaining the dangers of illness in context.
A nurse should be emphatic. It is another strategy that helps a nurse to understand the complicated emotions and feelings expressed by a patient. The focus should not only concentrate on the actual illness and its symptoms but also the pain of a patient. It enhances patient's satisfaction and communication (Yoost, & Crawford 2015). More so, the nurse should be slow while giving instructions to avoid misinterpretation. A nurse should also be prepared for a reaction because not all patients are the same, some could be violent due to mental instability while others could be friendly and cooperative. Therefore, a nurse should recognize a response, and then give the patient an ample time to display the emotion before engaging in a dialogue.
Effective communication leads to mutual satisfaction both for the nurse and the patient. A registered nurse should ensure that he or she has good communication competence to eliminate cases of medical errors and patients complaints. The healthcare setting should encourage cultural diversity at the workplace to avoid cases of prejudice and racism strengthening the patient's advocacy. Treatment can be fruitful when the nurse discloses honest information to a patient and vice versa to avoid confusion and false hope to an ailing patient.
Arnold, E., & Boggs, K. U. (2016). Interpersonal relationships: Professional communication skills for nurses.
Potter, P. A., Perry, A. G., Stockert, P., & Hall, A. (2016). Fundamentals of Nursing.
Yoost, B. L., & Crawford, L. R. (2015). Fundamentals of Nursing: Active Learning for Collaborative Practice.
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