Communication Power in the Nurse/Client Relationship

Introduction

According to (Antai, 2006), communication is a very important aspect of the ways in which nurses relate with their clients. The power of communication in this particular relationship is expressed by communication’s modes as well as principles used by the nurses. Nurses may use a nonverbal or a verbal mode in their communication process which is determined by the message they want to convey to clients. Communication principles are also involved in expressing the power of communication in the relationship between clients and nurses and they include time, preparation of clients before interacting with them, location as well as confidentiality. Communication between clients and nurses can be used during the delivery of treatment or as a therapy to various situations being experienced by clients who in this case are the patients. However, the impact of communication between nurses and their clients is mostly felt when it’s used for therapeutic purposes.

Therapeutic communication

According to (Brydie, 2005), therapeutic communication is very essential in the relationship between nurses and their clients and is used for the benefit of clients. That is, a client’s condition is expected to improve as he or she communicates with the nurse. Therapeutic communication has been found to give results that are almost comparable to those provided by medical technological developments in terms of its effectiveness. Therapeutic communication mostly deals with a clients’ Psychol were here through talking; they get to heal their hearts whose problems are usually manifested physically. The importance of this kind of communication was realized when doctors, nurses, and psychiatrists noticed that some diseases could not be treated until the patients’ psychology is in order. It has therefore occurred that there is no treatment that can take the place of therapeutic communication, giving nurses a very essential role in the process of maintaining the health of their clients (Boggs, 2002).

Principles Employed For Effective Therapeutic Communication

(Candlin, 2003) argues that, since therapeutic communication is aimed at improving the client’s condition, it should be done will great care so as to attain the expected results and not otherwise. Therefore, various principles are employed for its effectiveness among them being time. The use of time by nurses in therapeutic communication can be divided into two; one is where nurses are supposed to use enough time when interacting with their clients and the second is where they should be careful on their timing. Timing in this case refers to the appropriate time at which nurses should initiate conversations with their clients. Concerning the amounthe t, effectiveness of communication is well impacted when nurses use valuable time with clients in respect to their needs. The usage of enough time makes clients feel valued and accepted which may have a great impact on their psychology. On the other hand, correct timing is important as it helps in getting the best out of interactions between nurses and their clients. It may not be appropriate for a nurse to initiate a conversation with his/her client at a time when the client is busy talking to his /her visitors or when experiencing serious pains. It occurs that the nurse is not likely to get the best out of the client as the interruption may annoy the client or the pain may be too much for him/her to realize the importance of interaction (Mary, 2001).

According to (Sandra, 2008), another principle that expresses the power of therapeutic communication is the place or location where nurses interact with their clients. An appropriate choice of the location where to conduct therapeutic communication with a client is very important. Nurses are expected to ensure that the chosen location is comfortable for both of them. This is usually achieved through asking whether a client is comfortable with the temperature, posture as well as other conditions required to make a client comfortable. The chosen location should also ensure confidentiality of information disclosed by clients and therefore it should be as private as possible. This way, clients are able to disclose sensitive information which could lead to their healing. The next principle is that of setting the interaction’s stage, which is usually done by the nurse. This is essential as it involves introduction of the topic to be covered, specific amount of time to be used as well as personal introduction. Here, the nurse first introduces his/ her self and the objectives of their interaction which allows both the nurse and the client to start their interaction at the same pace so as to make it more productive (Kuhn, 2008).

Communication’s modes in therapeutic communication

According to (Fernandes, 2002), the power of communication in the relationship between nurses and their clients is also expressed through communication’s modes. Nurses have a choice of two different modes through which to interact with their clients. That is, verbally or nonverbally, where verbal communication involves use of words. This is where they converse using a language that is understood by both of them. Through use of language, the clients are able to talk their hearts out giving details of each and every issue that could be bothering them and which they feel that through sharing they will feel better. Words can also be expressed in writing which can be used when the nurse and the client are not in a position to understand each other using a common language or if they are not at the same geographical location. Clients may write letters to nurses attending to them, where they may state their problems which are then responded to by the nurses helping out on their issues. With the current technological developments, this kind of communication has been made easier by emails which are faster and efficient. Nurses may also write to their clients enquiring about their progress and assuring them that all will be well. Effective use of language either through speaking or writing is very important to this relationship as it keeps nurses updated with the situation of their clients. The nurses are in turn given an opportunity to attend to their clients by either encouraging or giving them solutions to their problems (Kathleen, 2005).

(Patricia, 2007) found that, the next category of modes used by nurses to communicate to their clients is nonverbal mode. This is often used by clients so as to send messages to nurses attending to them without consent of the clients’. Nurses are expected to be very keen so as to get the nonverbal messages conveyed to them by their clients, which is portrayed by the clients’ behavior. These messages are conveyed through expressions displayed by acts of the clients. It has been realized that the face has the ability to convey messages that are not conveyed through words. In other instances, they give support to what had been spoken or give a different message altogether. Features of the face are also involved in effecting communication between nurses and their clients. These include the eyes and the mouth where smiles may pass a message that a client is comfortable with a certain issue while a frown may mean that he/she dislikes the issue. Different adjustments of the eyes are also used to convey messages between nurses and their clients. Eyes may show that a client or the nurse is not sincere in what he or she is saying and can as well portray sadness or concern according to the issue been tackled. It has been argued that eyes are very effective in conveying messages about how a person feels which make it very important in the relationship between nurses and their clients. Therapeutic communication primarily deals with healing the emotions of clients and when exact messages about them are conveyed, it enables nurses to evaluate the progress of their clients (Clements, 2006).

(Arnold, 2007), argues that, expressions of the face are not only portrayed by clients but also by nurses during their interactions. Sometimes, nurses may decide to initiate conversations with their clients after a long day of working in the hospital and have tiredness portrayed on their faces. This may not work very well with clients who entirely depend on nurses for their healing. It is therefore appropriate to have nurses put a jovial face when talking to their clients or postpone the interaction to a time when they are relaxed.

Posture is another means through which nonverbal messages are conveyed between nurses and their clients. Nurses are able to get messages from the kind of posture in which a client sits or stands. Leaning backwards while standing may convey a message that a client does not support a certain issue. A client may show support, interest or need for more explanation by leaning forwards while standing during communication. A nurse may portray his or her confidence on the issue being tackled by standing or sitting upright during conversation with clients. This may be important in gaining trust of their clients who usually put their trust on the nurses. Gestures also play a major role in enhancing communication between nurses and their clients. This is done through nodding and sneering that are interpreted accordingly (Griffin, 2001).

(Crawford, 2008) argues that, touch is another nonverbal mode which is used by nurses to comfort their clients as it strengthens their relationship when used appropriately. The client feels that the nurse understands his or her feelings and sympathizes with him/her. However, touch may sometimes be misinterpreted by clients who may have suffered abuse or by those who are naturally aggressive. In such cases, the nurse should explain the purpose of touch to those clients so that what had already been achieved is not reversed.

There is evident that, communication expresses its power in the relationship between nurses and their clients through its modes as well as principles. These two are used by clients to either strengthen or weaken their relationship during interactions. Therefore, they are not only essential in building relationships but also in breaking them. This relationship can be broken by some communication barriers like misunderstandings of culture, language and gender. However, there exists ways in which they can be overcome so as to maintain a good relationship between the two parties (Swink, 2006).

References

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