Effective communication skills in nursing Within this assignment I will be looking at the importance of effective communication skills in the nursing profession. I will briefly explore the meaning of communication and then look at different styles of effective communication. I will include a wide range of references to support my findings and then offer a conclusion regarding the importance of communication with the patient and other agencies. There are a large number of communication models and meaning’s, which in itself indicates that communication is a huge subject and difficult to pin to a simple explanation (Webb 2011).
Donnelly (2008) agrees with this by writing that a concise definition is difficult to achieve due to the term “communication” having a long list of meanings. Good communication between patients and nurses is at the core of good nursing care, which will ensure the development of a therapeutic relationship (Stein- Parbury 2009). Donnelly (2008) supports this by stating that at the very heart of effective nursing, communication is the key to delivering high-quality care. Donnelly (2008) states that effective communication is recognised as a core condition for all people who work in public service.
Also read: Communication Cycle Argyle
In Health and Social care services effective communication promotes the best possible nursing care (Donelly 2008). Donelly (2008) writes that the way we communicate with people who use nursing service’s or facilities has a direct impact on how care is perceived and experienced by the user. Collins (2009) agrees by stating that communication is therapeutic, that building relationships is the foundation of nursing work, and communication is a requirement to that process.
If we can recognise how communication takes place and comprehend its process we can develop strategies to ensure that communication is effective and meets the needs of all patients’. Within Nursing there are many ways of communicating with patients. The NMC standards for pre-registration nursing education (NMC, 2010) stipulate that “Within the domain for communication and interpersonal skills, all nurses must do the following, communicate safely and effectively, using a range of communication skills and technologies” (NMC 2010).
Hamilton (2007) agrees with this by stating that nurses should try to relate with patients using the full range of communication skills at their disposal, to help patients understand that nurses are there to assist as much as they possibly can. These communication skills range from verbal, non-verbal, and written communication. Burnard (2005) explains that we communicate to some degree with words. But also we communicate to a large degree with our bodies. This can be classed as non-verbal. Some aspects of non-verbal communication we use would be eye contact, facial expressions and hand gestures.
Burnard (2005) also writes about the importance of listening. Burnard states that the listening skill is an important form of non-verbal communication and being listened to is vital as everybody needs to be listened to. Stein-Parbury (2009) states that, listening encourages further interaction between patient and nurses; it is a catalyst in promoting a trusting therapeutic relationship. Collin (2009) agrees with this by writing when patients feel listened to it gives a sense of connection enabling the relationship to progress. Wright (2007) writes about another non-verbal behaviour which is described as “body talk”.
This would include hand gestures. Some body talking can suggest a certain state of mind, for example a patient pacing, unable to sit for any time or wringing of the hands may suggest that this patient is in distress. Webb states that folding of the arms can display defensive non-verbal communication; it can show that a patient is feeling anxious or threatened in some way. If this is displayed by the nurse it may suggest to the patient that the nurse is dis-interested which will form a barrier between the patient and nurse. To avoid such barriers Egan (1998) suggests that the use of the SOLER theory.
The theory Soler was created by Egan (1998) to help the communication between the nurse and the patient. His theory shows that basic non-verbal communication can help make a patient feel involved and cared for when working with the nurse. Soler stands for- S: facing the client or family squarely, both metaphorically and literally O: adopt an Open, non-defensive posture L: Lean forward toward the family to show interest E: make good Eye Contact R: stay Relaxed. But there are other forms of communication that need to be effective when delivering nursing care.
The nurse needs to ensure that they are able to communicate well within the organisation and with others. Donnelly (2008) points out that when identifying the needs of those we care for we must also distinguish the role of others in providing for people’s needs. There is a risk within service provision to see only that which we can offer and ignore what others agencies and professionals can provide. Effective care depends on us being able to work in partnership, ensuring those we care for receive the best possible care. There are many others modes of communication; the written word is required when working with people (Donelly 2008).
The NMC (2008) states that you must keep clear and accurate records of the discussions you have, the assessments you make, the treatment and medicines you give and how effective these have been. You must complete records as soon as possible after an event has occurred, the nurse must not tamper with original records in any way, the nurse must ensure any entries you make in someone’s paper records are clearly and legibly signed, dated and timed, the nurse must ensure any entries you make in someone’s electronic records are clearly attributable to you, and also ensure all records are kept securely (NMC 2008).
Conclusion Whilst preparing for this essay, I did not fully understand the importance of communication and how we are understood by patients. After researching and evaluating, I now understand the importance of effective verbal communication with appropriate body language, also the importance of non-verbal communication using good eye contact and hand gestures. I have now learnt that to become a good nurse you need to be able to use a wide range of communication to be able to fully care for the patient. These skills are equally important when dealing with agencies.
Burnard, P. (2005) Counselling Skills for Health Professionals. Nelson Thornes: Cheltenham: Collins. S, (2009) Good communication helps to build a therapeutic relationship: http://www. nursingtimes. net (accessed 24 April 2012) Donnelly, E. Neville, L. (2008) Communication and Interpersonal Skills, 1st Ed. Reflect Press Ltd: Devon. Egan, G. (1998). The Skilled Helper. Wiley: Chichester Hamilton. S, J (2007) Clinical Development: A framework for effective communication skills : http://www. nursingtimes. et (accessed 24 April 2012) Nursing and Midwifery Council (2008) The code: Standards of conduct, performance and ethics for nurses and midwives. NMC: London Nursing and Midwifery Council (2010) Standards for Pre-registration Nursing Education: Draft for Consultation. NMC: London Stein-Parbury, J. (2009) Patient and Person: Interpersonal Skills in nursing, 4th Ed. Elsevier: Australia Webb, L. (2011). Nursing: Communication Skills in Practice. Oxford University Press, Oxford. Wright, B, (2007) Interpersonal Skills: Skills for Caring. M&K Publishing: Cumbria .
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