Effective Communication Skills - Essay Example

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Communication is a crucial component in nursing practice. In nursing practice, it is crucial to create a good relationship between a nurse, the patient and the other members of the health team (Balzer, 2007)…
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Download file to see previous pages Effective communication skills are thus necessary to provide effective services in health care. Paul Leagans defines communication as the process by which two or more people exchange facts, ideas, impressions and feelings so that each person gains understanding of use, intent and meaning of the message (Schuster, 1999). Communication includes verbal as well as non-verbal exchange of information. It is necessary to practice effective communication skills in nursing so as to understand, empathize and support patients (Carrol and Dolly, 2008). This paper will elaborate on two elements of effective communication and the skills pertinent to these elements. It is crucial to develop effective communication skills so as to overcome the various barriers to communication. In nursing practice, barriers to communication include physiological, personal, cultural, psychological and physical barriers. Physiological barriers, for example, altered mental state may interfere with the patient’s ability to interpret information. The nurse’s attitude, knowledge and feeling towards a patient may also impede communication. Physical barriers include noise, distance and other environmental factors that may impede communication (Schuster, 1999). The elements of effective communication include the sender, message, channel of communication, receiver and feedback (Schuster, 1999). The sender (source) formulates programs and broadcasts the information, which they want to communicate. The effect of the message is dependent on the sender’s attitude, knowledge, social status and communication skills. The message is the information in physical form conveyed to the audience. The channel of communication is the media used by the source in facilitating communication to the receiver. The receiver decodes, translates the meaning and acts upon the information received. Feedback is the reaction to the information conveyed by the sender. This paper will focus on the message and the channel and the skills therein. There are various forms of message. They include words, signs, symbols and pictures. It comprises of message code, content and treatment (Schuster, 1999). Message code defines any form of signs and symbols that are structured in a meaningful format to the same people. This includes the use of language to convey information. Message content defines the material that is in the message. This is selected by the sender in putting across his information. On the other hand, message treatment shows the decisions which the source undertakes to select and arrange the codes and content. The message communicates the sender’s feelings, intentions and attitudes towards the audience (Balzer, 2007). In nursing practice, information is conveyed from one person to another within a short time. Effective communication skills are necessary to avoid errors in vital information, for example, treatment of a patient (Balzer, 2007). In effective communication, a message should elicit the desired action from the audience. It must be clear, timely, specific and in line with the intended objectives. This means that the nurse should ensure that the message is brief, accurate and meets the objectives of its purpose. In addition, the message should be conveyed in a language that the audience can understand. The use of complex vocabulary to explain the patient’s disease and treatment will interfere on the patient’s ability to understand as well as accept their condition. Nursing practice also involves gathering information about the patient, symptoms and their effects to the patient. The use of a common language will enhance understanding between the patient and the nurse (Christie and Robinson, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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