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

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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. When the patient responded yes, the nurse asked how many. This assisted the patient to disclose honestly how many cigarettes they smoke. The patient is asked a series of questions which related to their physical health and social circumstances. Questions allow the nurse to discover the patient's attitudes and beliefs, this allows the patient's care to be planned to fulfil their needs. The nurse records information given when the patient is admitted to provide her colleagues with a written document. Whilst assessing the patient the nurse should aim to reduce the patient's anxiety levels by reassuring them.
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When admitting the patient the nurse can choose to use open or close questions. Closed questions are questions which require a yes or no answer, for example 'do you have angina?' Faulker (1998) criticises the use of close questions because she feels the patient is denied the chance to release any underlying fears which are not related to the procedure such as social or psychological circumstances. Faulker (1998) also believes that closed questions will direct the focus of the patient's response and restrict them to a preferred response.

Westwood et al (2001) agrees with Faulker (1998) that ...

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