This assignment aims to explore communication theories and how the nurse uses communication in her role.

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Introduction

This assignment aims to explore communication theories and how the nurse uses communication in her role. This will be achieved by defining communication, discussing the different types of communication, explaining communication in nursing and integrating the theory of communication to clinical practice. Communication is the process of sending, receiving and decoding information between two or more people. Ellis et al (2003) concluded that 'communication is made up of a sender, a receiver and a message which is set in a particular context.' However Schuster (2000) believes that 'communication is the use of words and behaviours to construct, send and interpret messages.' Schuster's (2000) views link together verbal and non verbal communication whilst Ellis et al (2003) definition focuses on verbal communication. Communication has two parts a verbal and a non verbal message. Verbal communication is communication which is spoken; however word meanings can change due to paralanguage which is tone, pitch and volume. Argyle (1975) states that paralinguistics can change whilst the interaction is taking place. This could change by the nurse speaking in a higher voice. Faulker (1998) identifies that the aim of interviewing a patient is to identify their problems. On reflection to practice the patient is assessed prior to the procedure. The nurses uses her interpersonal communication skills to interact with the patient whilst gaining the required information. Verbal communication provides the nurse with the opportunity to reassure her patient and discuss their concerns with them. In my experience this was demonstrated by the admissions nurse reassuring a frightened patient that they could still breathe through the procedure. To enable the nurse to gain the information she requires she uses a questioning technique. This is usually based on a nursing model such as Roper, Logan, and Tierney (1996). The functions of questions are to gather the information and encourage the flow of conversation. In my experience the nurse asked a patient if they smoke.

Middle

This protected the patient from any risks or danger throughout the procedure. The nurse needs to support the patient by using communication in an open and honest manner. This can be achieved by ensuring that the patient understands why the procedure is conducted. On reflection to clinical practice this occurred by the nurse explaining to patients who had sedation that oxygen was routinely given to help their recovery. Communication is used to care for the patient holistically. Holistic care is caring for the patient as a whole. This means caring for all their needs. Saunders (2004) states that the nurse must have the patient as the focus of the care being provided. To care for a patient holistically, the nurse needs to use interpersonal communication skills which demonstrate warmth; this shows concern for the patient by adopting a friendly approach. This will encourage the patient to disclose information. The nurse needs to respect the patient by maintaining privacy and dignity. On reflection to clinical practice this is demonstrated by the door being closed when the patient is being admitted. This encourages the patient to disclose information because the patient is aware that only the nurse can hear. The nurse can demonstrate that she is a genuine person by sharing personal experiences and empathising with the patient. The nurse needs to portray herself as a trustworthy character. Faulker (1998) believes 'the aim of the first interaction should be to engender trust so that the patient feels able to disclose as much information as he is able.' This helps the nurse to build and maintain a therapeutic relationship with the patient. The therapeutic relationship will help to build trust encouraging the patient to disclose information and their personal concerns and worries. Verbal and non verbal communication need to be in collaboration with each other, however they often counteract each other. Argyle (1988) demonstrated that when verbal communication is contradicted by non verbal communication the verbal message is often discounted.

Conclusion

Gerad Egan (1988) devised an acronym for body language. It spells the word SOLER. Each letter represents a word that aids effective communication. S means sit squarely because it shows the patient that the nurse is interested in them, O means display an open posture. L means lean slightly forward to demonstrate that the nurse is ready to start the conversation. E represents eye contact which needs to be maintained because the signals that the nurse is ready to start and R means relax to prevent the patient from being nervous by the nurse displaying nervous behaviour. The nurse needs to be able to understand the body language the patient is conveying. In my experience this was done by the nurse verbally asking the patient if they were in any pain, to which the patient responded that they were not. The nurse looked at the patient's face and discovered that they were in some considerable pain because their eyes were closed tightly, their legs and arms were tightly crossed. The look of pain was expressed on their face. The nurse utilises her communication skills for many tasks in her job role. However this assignment states the main reasons for the nurse to use communication are assessing the patient, providing the patient with support to reduce anxiety, communicating with the multidisciplinary team about the condition of the patient, and providing the patient and their relatives with information. When the nurse is communicating she needs to be aware of her body language and paralinguistic to encourage the patient to communicate. The nurse needs to be able to use verbal and non verbal communication effectively. The nurse also needs to make good use of probing questions when she is questioning the patient. The nurse needs to reinforce verbal communication with written communication to aid the patient's memory. This means being aware of non verbal behaviour and ensuring that verbal communication has been understood. This assignment demonstrates that communication is vital to the nurse's role. ?? ?? ?? ??

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