Communication, according to the Free Dictionary, is “the exchange of thoughts, messages, or information, as by speech, signals, writing or behaviors”. It is vital in the development and maintenance of personal and professional relationships. It is important to understand communication also includes non-verbal as well as verbal acts. According to Rane (2010), 93% of communication is nonverbal and body language is an effective nonverbal communication tool. There are two essential components in communication, which are a sender and receiver of a message. In the personal and professional health care communication paper, I will discuss the definition of healthcare communication, the relevancy of effective personal healthcare communication to health outcomes, how the lack of effective personal and professional healthcare communications contributes to poor health outcomes, and the theories and principles of therapeutic communication in health care settings for the healthcare professional (UOP, 2012).
Healthcare communication definition
In the healthcare field communication is vital to provide optimal care for the patient and enhancing the ability to make informed decisions.
Healthcare communication relates to communication between people in health care organization, according to Northouse, 1998. This communication allows for questions and answers to who, what, where, how and when about health-related information in the patient-healthcare professional relationship. When used correctly communication enhances patient outcomes and results from patient surveys.
Relevancy of effective personal healthcare communication with other healthcare professionals, clients, and patients (UOP,2012) Communication with the healthcare team including the patient, their family, medical professionals such as the doctor, nurse, and ancillary services such as X-ray department, pharmacy is vital in achieving the best outcomes as a result of evaluation, intervention, and the overall status of the patient. In order to give high-quality health care, it requires effective communication between the team and the patient. In cases of Non-English speaking patients or individuals with hearing impairments, they require other resources for effective communication such as interpreters, picture board or other devices. The healthcare professional must explain procedures or management of care to the patient or family to ensure optimal goals. It is through effective communication that the healthcare professional empowers the consumer with knowledge related to their illness, its’ schedule of care by increasing patient compliance.
It is when the patient does not understand what is happening in the health care system they need the professional to be understanding and sensitive by taking time to explain. This aids the patient by meeting their need to understand according to Northouse, 1998. Relevancy of effective professional healthcare communication to health outcomes (UOP, 2012) Effective professional healthcare communication is relevant to desired health outcomes. Successful communication is essential between team members because it allows for the development of specific objectives to accomplish. The health care team strives as one but individually they ensure the patient reaches the desired outcomes. If all team members are not “on board” to assure the patient reaches the goals set forth causes an uphill battle which produces conflict. This conflict could be productive by encouraging the team to review a difference in opinion that can be beneficial for the patient.
How the lack of effective personal and professional healthcare communications contributes to poor health outcomes (UOP, 2012) The lack of effective personal and professional healthcare communication affects teamwork, patient satisfaction, patient safety, patient management, compliance with treatment, level of anxiety, job satisfaction efficiency, which potentially leads to poor patient health outcomes (www.health.vic.gov.au/qualitycouncil/safetymodul/page22.htm). The purpose of effective communication in healthcare is to provide first-class medical care, minimal to no medical errors and have precision; and without it there is room for medical errors, poor patient care and an ineffective team that produces undesired outcome. In the professional and patient relationship, the lack of good communication causes the patient to be apprehensive in asking questions, to worry about being bothersome because they feel other patients are sicker, and there is an assumption that the patient does not have any concerns.
There are barriers to communication that include only one between the sender and receiver of the message understands the message, cultural differences, and lack of education. In sending the message it is essential that the message is received with clarity, it is concise and complete. If the patient has a language barrier, it can be masked by the patient not responding to information and it is detected as a result of poor or no compliance. In literacy concerns, all information should be presented on a 5th grade level to aid in the comprehension of the information. The care of the patient should be patient/family centered which helps in detecting any language, cultural or literacy barriers (Schyve, 2007). For example, a 46 year old single male patient that is functionally literate is admitted with a diagnosis of acute angina. During the admission process it is disclosed he completed the 7th grade which renders him functionally literate and there is no language barrier. The cardiologist (heart doctor) comes in and discusses his plan of care that includes a stress test.
The nurse asks the patient if he has any questions and he reports he cannot do any exercise. The nurse provides information related to the procedure that includes using medications to mimic the manual exercise. The theories and principles of therapeutic communication in health care settings for the healthcare professional (UOP, 2012) Therapeutic communication is a process in which the nurse consciously influences or helps the client to better understanding through verbal or nonverbal communication (The Free Dictionary). There are detailed approaches that promote the expression of feelings and ideas that convey approval and respect in a non judgmental manner. Therapeutic communication encourages the patient to participate in the plan of care. The patient would not be receptive to engaging in communication if the nurse runs in and out of the room hurriedly or promises to perform a task and not complete it. It is important that the patient views the care professional as one that is caring and willing to go the extra mile for the patient. The patient can be appreciative of any act of kindness displayed by the professional in as they promote Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring. Most nurses chose this career because of a genuine caring attitude toward all mankind therefore using the Watson’s caring theory will enhance the caring system.
The information found in Watson’s caring theory helps the nurse revisit the place of traditional values, which is the foundation of becoming a nurse The following are Watson’s clinical caritas process (es): •“Practice of loving-kindness and equanimity with context of caring-consciousness” (Alligood & Tomey, 2006 p.116); •“Being authentically present and enabling and sustaining the deep belief system and subjective life world of self and the on-being-cared-for” (Alligood & Tomey, 2006 p.116); •“Cultivation of one’s own spiritual practices and transpersonal self, going beyond ego self. Being sensitive to self and other” (Alligood & Tomey, 2006 p.116); •“Developing and sustaining a helping-trusting, authentic caring relationship” (Alligood & Tomey, 2006 p.116); •“Being present to and supportive of the expression of positive and negative feelings as a connection with deeper spirit of self and the on-being-cared-for” (Alligood & Tomey, 2006 p. 116);
•“Creative use of self and all ways of knowing as part of the caring process and engagement in artistry of caring-healing practices” (Alligood & Tomey, 2006 p. 117); •“Engaging in genuine teaching-learning experience that attends to unity of being and meaning and attempts to stay within other’s frame of reference” (Alligood & Tomey, 2006 p. 117); •“Creating healing environment at all levels (physical as well as nonphysical) whereby wholeness, beauty, comfort, dignity, and peace are potentiated” (Alligood & Tomey, 2006 p. 117); •“Assisting with basic needs, with an intentional caring consciousness; administering human care essentials, which potentiate alignment of mind-body-spirit, wholeness, and unity of being in all aspects of care; attending to both embodied spirit and evolving emergence”, (Alligood & Tomey, 2006 p. 118) and •‘Opening and attending to spiritual-mysterious and existential dimensions of one’s own life-death; soul care for self and the one-being-cared-for” (Alligood & Tomey, 2006 p. 118).
The Caring Theory facilitates therapeutic communication because it addresses all aspects of the patient’s being which encourages the patient to be more open and receptive to the treatment and procedures needed to promote desired outcomes. “Give to everyone who asks of you, and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you” (King James Bible, Luke 6:30-31). In conclusion, effective communication is understood by the patient and healthcare team and if there is a misunderstanding the communication is nonexistent, the terms of health care cease or continues with poor quality and high risks to patient safety (Schyve, 2007).
Effective communication enhances the potential to provide error-free care of the patient. When there is an error it is viewed as the inability to provide optimal patient care (O’Daniel & Rosenstein, date unknown). In order to provide premium quality patient care effective communication is a requirement; therefore it is an important role of communication and teamwork to reduce errors in the medical field thus increasing patient safety and promoting desired outcomes (Grover, 2005). I believe in providing therapeutic effective communication the health care professional should utilize professional skills learned especially those the endorse a caring and nurturing nurse-client/patient or professional-professional relationship.
Alligood, M. R. & Tomey, A. M. (2006). Nursing theory: Utilization & application (3rd ed.). St. Louis, MO: Mosby Elsevier
Grover, S. M. (2005). Shaping Effective Communication Skills and Therapeutic Relationships at Work. AAOHN Journal, 53(4), 177. King James Version. (1976). The Holy Bible. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc Northouse, L. & Northouse, P. (1998) Health communication: Strategies for health professionals (3rd ed.) Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall
O’Daniel, M. & Rosenstein, A. ( ). Chapter 33. Profession Communication and Team Collaboration www.ahrq.gov/qual/nurseshdbk/docs/O’DanielM_TWC.pdf
Rane, D. B. (2010). Effective Body Language for Organizational Success. IUP Journal Of Soft Skills, 4(4), 17-26.
Schyve, P. (2007). Language Differences as a Barrier to Quality and Safety in Health Care: The Joint Commission Perspective. Society of General Internal Medicine
The free dictionary.
The free dictionary.
University of Phoenix, 2012. HCS/350-Health Care Communication www.uop.edu
Why is communication important in health care? http://www.health.vic.gov.au/qualitycouncil/safety_module/page22.htm
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