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Interpersonal Communication


In the current era in the healthcare delivery, the demand is for caregivers to ensure that services are not only of high quality, but are also patient-centered. Moreover, patients’ safety is another phenomenon that is now highly agitated for as caregivers have to ensure that services availed are the most appropriate in treating the health condition being faced by patients. These two demands are well served when the caregiver and patients engage in a constructive interpersonal exchange during which all appropriate information is provided by the two parties, hence leading to the right treatment approach being utilized.

Besides, it is through this exchange that the action of the caregiver is heavily influenced by demands of patients, bringing about the element of an evidenced-based approach in practice. It is thus crucial to ensure that the caregiver provides the right environment for the patient by ensuring that patients feel comfortable and making it possible for them to be actively involved in the treatment process. In turn, the exchange for caregivers is an avenue that allows them to carry out an in-depth analysis and get understanding through which they can improve their knowledge on different illnesses and different conditions faced by patients. This exchange of knowledge brings about harmony in the treatment process, leading to an improved health care delivery, where patients are safer due to the caring being availed in a patient-centered manner. It is, therefore, clear that interpersonal communication is a crucial variable in caregiving that ensures that a culture of safety is upheld in the healthcare through improved levels of compassion, empathy, and caring among caregivers.

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Impact on Nursing Care

Nurses are major players when it comes to the contact time with patients. They are better known as caregivers since they are heavily involved in any level of treatment. This makes it necessary for them to have a healthy interpersonal relation and communication with their patients while providing the most appropriate help. It is also through interpersonal communication that nurses are able to identify the best possible care for primary care patients. Besides, it is this interaction that enables nurses to be in a position to safeguard the comfort of patients. At the heart of any nursing engagement, there lies the need to ensure that the patients’ welfare is prioritized. Moreover, one of the requirements for ensuring that this demand is met is the need to advocate for necessary changes in the healthcare. Advocacy can only be successful if nurses have the right information. Therefore, interpersonal communication provides a platform where the information needed for significant changes in nursing is attained. It is feedback on the perception of care availed by nurses from the patients’ perceptive that provides insights on the changes needed.

Hence, it is a valid assertion that interpersonal communication helps get crucial information in the nursing that assists with improving the care rendered. Besides, through this constructive exchange lasting bonds are created between nurses and patients, resulting in compassion and empathy being involved as caregiving factors, which leads to the improvement of nursing undertakings. Overall, interpersonal communication provides an environment where caregiving is availed in a manner that maintains dignity of patients, as well as ensuring that both patients and nurses are empowered through improved access to crucial information.

Literature Review

For a long time, nursing has been an interpersonal engagement where nurses and patients interact for mutual benefits. Besides, it is this interaction that allows nurses to be more knowledgeable on the best way to take care of patients. It is under these two considerations that there has been a constant call for nurses to ensure that they provide a therapeutic environment for patients. A therapeutic environment can only be provided if and only if nurses can be in a position to understand the patients’ demands. Moreover, there is the need to understand that every patient has his or her unique demands that nurses have to identify. This is the main reason that calls for the need to ensure that vital information is availed through an effective interpersonal communication.

In the same line of thought, earlier theorists have been in the forefront, agitating for the need of nursing services to be availed in a manner that allows a productive exchange of information between nurses and patients. According to the Hildegard Peplau Theory, the demand is for nurses to engage in a therapeutic and interpersonal process. The argument is that nursing is a human interaction process between a patient and a nurse. Moreover, the argument is that health could only be attained through an interaction between patient information and expertise availed by the nurse. This is in line with the recognition that for any treatment process to be effective both the patient and the nurse need to work together in a complementary manner.

Similarly, Jean Watson agitated for nursing to be a center of care. The argument was that nursing need to be a field centered on caring for the sick and help them regain their health. Of importance to the topic at hand is Watson’s assertion that caring was an element best served and demonstrated interpersonally. This is a clear indication of how Watson appreciated interpersonal processes necessary in nursing. Another demand by Watson is the need to ensure that caring and science work hand in hand in nursing. Besides, it was the demand by Watson for nurses to ensure that while caring for patients, there is the establishment of trust between the caregiver and patients. It was the assertion that the needed level of trust between these two parties was only possible to achieve through an effective mode of communication. It was also the assertion that the needed trust was only possible if a nurse showed elements of empathy and warmth towards patients. Jean Watson claimed that nursing could be summarized best as showing the need to ensure that there was effective communication between caregivers and patients so that the caring aspect would be included in the treatment process.

Moreover, according to the Comfort Theory by Katharine Kolcaba, nursing engagements are designed to ensure the health care is ultimately comfortable. It is, therefore, the demand that nursing is fully engaged in assessing the level of patients’ comfort and coming up with policies that improve the level of comfort. One of the key demands by Kolcaba is that nurses utilize the tool asking patients about their level of comfort. This brings about the demand for ensuring that there is a healthy interpersonal communication between nurses and patients. Insights availed by the theorist clearly indicate that caring and a healthy interaction between nurses and patients have been a common agitation as a means towards improving the quality of care.

Currently, the demand for effective interpersonal communication has been aimed at improving the quality of healthcare delivery, patients’ safety, provision of patient-centered health care, and, above all, improvement of teamwork during the treatment process. Interpersonal communication has become one of the primary undertakings in caregiving where the demand is to ensure that patients are actively involved in the treatment process. In a study relating to the importance of interpersonal communication from the patient's viewpoint under the primary level of care, it is clear that this approach is very important for patients. It has been revealed that utilizing interpersonal communication is crucial in identifying issues and concerns of patients. It has also been proven to be helpful when explaining the situation to patients and it has led to the patient participating actively in the treatment process. While offering patient-centered care, interpersonal communication is one of the primary demands of the current healthcare system. According to Kourkouta & Papathanasiou, good communication between nurses and patients is vital in availing individualized care. Moreover, the assertion is that for the patients' welfare to be best looked after, nurses need to appreciate that communication takes place where there is a sick party and, thus, there is the need to ensure that communication is clear for all. The demand, therefore, is for nurses not only to rely on their natural gift of interpersonal communication, but also to make an effort to learn how to communicate professionally. The assertion is that this is the only approach under which nurses will be in a position to care for patients better.

Moreover, there is also the demand to ensure that patients are safe and this calls for minimized human error. With a view to meeting this demand, one of the realignments done in nursing is using evidenced-based approach and teamwork. For doing that, interpersonal communication skills are highly important for ensuring that nurses can interact with one another to utilize a team-based treatment approach. According to Vertino, interpersonal communication is helpful in caring for incapacitated patients as nurses take the role of advocates under which they inform other caregivers on the patient’s demands. Besides, there is the assertion that interpersonal communication also provides a platform where the nurses can relieve their stress caused by a continued exposure to ailing people. While creating a therapeutic environment for patients, nurses need to be at peace with the ‘self’ to take better care of others. Therefore, interpersonal communication is also helpful in ensuring that nurses are in a stable state, helping them to serve patients better. Over and above, availing evidence-based care is a common demand, whereby the call is for the care delivered to be reflective of the best-availed insights in the field of health care and to be guided by the client’s demands. In order to meet these demands, interpersonal communication is crucial for getting crucial information from the patient that forms one of the variables involved in evidence-based practice.

Affordable Care Act of 2010 is one of the influential policies guiding practice in the healthcare. The demand is for caregivers to interact with patients in order to make sure that they are an active party in their treatment process. Moreover, uniqueness of the patients’ needs is well-captured as the demand is for caregivers to be careful while identifying the patient’s demands as a means of coming up with the right assessment rather than using a blanket assumption. All these demands have one thing in common: they are all dependent on how effectively nurses and other caregivers can communicate with their patients. In the same Act, there is the demand for healthcare services to be expanded with respect to the need for caregivers to avail nurses in places where patients live. Nurses are heavily involved in meeting this demand, which has seen them avail care in underserved areas where traditional beliefs are still very popular. This brings about the need for nurses to be culturally competent, which is attained through effective communication with people from different cultural backgrounds. It is, therefore, clear that currently in the healthcare sector interpersonal communication is a crucial variable that enables nurses to understand the patients’ demands better, thus caring for them better. It is also through effective communication that caregiving by nurses is done in a manner that respects the patients’ beliefs, bringing about empathy and compassion.

Despite interpersonal communication leading to a huge improvement in caregiving, there are still some problems acting as barriers towards the realization of a healthy exchange between caregivers and patients. One of the challenges is conflicting beliefs of caregivers and patients with respect to healthcare. This leads to a situation when patients rebel in case nurses’ demands seem to be contrary to their traditional beliefs. When nurses are aware of such action, it may lead to adverse effects on patients. Another problem affecting interpersonal communication is instances when patients believe that they have unfairly treated. This negatively affects trust between the patient and the nurse, which is crucial for a healthy exchange. Another challenge is in the form of miscommunication when information provided by the nurse is misunderstood or completely not understood. This is particular the case relating to drug taking when miscommunication can lead to the patient taking drugs inappropriately, thus resulting in poor communication with the patient and his or her family.

Lack of professionalism among nurses may lead to poor communication. This happens when nurses undermine the patients’ rights, which angers them, thus acting as a barrier to effective interpersonal communication. The nurse-patient ratio is another challenge that affects constructive communication between nurses and patients. This is because of a heavier workload that nurses cannot give patients a sufficient amount of time as they try to serve as many patients as possible. These are the main challenges that need to be looked at if the spirit of interpersonal communication is to be upheld in the nursing profession as a means of ensuring that caring, empathy, and compassion are integrated into the caregiving process. Clear guidelines need to be enacted to ensure that there is a clear path on direction and demands that have to be upheld with a view to ensuring that nurses and patients interact effectively.

Conclusion of the Literature Review

It is clear that interpersonal communication remains an import aspect in nursing that enables nurses and patients to inform each another of essential things in an attempt to improve the patient’s health. Nurses also clearly play the leading role in the exchange as they are tasked with ensuring that crucial information is provided by the patient, which is significant for a final decision made in the treatment process. This form of communication has been at the center of nursing as a means of improving care in addition to ensuring that nurses are more compassionate in the process. It is also clear that for nurses to be caring and showing empathy, there is the need for them to understand the patients’ demands and this is well captured through an in-depth discussion of the condition with the patient.

Insights from the nursing theory clearly advocate for nursing to be treated as an interpersonal engagement whereby nurses’ expertise and patients’ feedback have to interact so that the right approach to care is utilized. It is also clear that interpersonal communication has provided and continues providing a platform under which health care is availed in a manner that upholds dignity of the patient. It is thanks to this interaction that a nurse can identify sensitive issues relating to the patient that need to be taken into account to establish the much-needed trust. Moreover, it is evident that patients’ safety is ensured through interpersonal interaction since the caregiver is better placed for getting a deeper understanding of the situation that a patient is facing. It is also through effective communication that nurses are in a position to interact amongst each other, thus relieving their stress that emerges as a result of always being around ailing people.

Through a constructive communication, patients are also actively involved in the treatment process, which is advocated for in the modern healthcare sector as envisaged by the Affordable Care Act. Besides, it is also apparent that it is through interpersonal communication that teamwork in the caregiving field becomes possible. It allows caregivers to exchange information, thus coming up with the result that comprises of divergent and helpful insights on the best treatment approach. However, there still exist problem in the health sector that continue to undermine how nurses and other caregivers interact with their patients. Miscommunication, misperception, and conflicting healthcare beliefs are only some problems that are barriers to a complete integration of interpersonal communication in caregiving.

Taking into consideration the research question, it is clear that interpersonal communication provides an excellent platform through which healthcare delivery can be improved. There is also the need to understand main variables that should be upheld in safeguarding this culture in nursing as a means of guaranteeing care, compassion, and empathy in the treatment process. It is necessary to study the best approach that can be utilized in eliminating barriers to effective communication as a means of ensuring perpetuity of this culture. A clear correlation between interpersonal communication and elements of caring, compassion, and empathy needs to be studied with a clear deduction of the process in order to identify the most valuable variables that need to be upheld. In general, there is the need to research how patients and nurses should interact to make such interaction effective with a view coming up with guidelines regulating when and how the caregiver can override demands of patients as a means of safeguarding the patients’ heath.

Final Take

Through interpersonal communication, all the services rendered to patients present a decision taken out of consideration for the patients’ demand and appropriate expertise insights. This is an approach that takes care of the patients’ safety through involving them in the treatment process and under which crucial information is critical for coming up with the right intervention. Besides, it is interpersonal collaboration that ensures that caregivers understand their patients better, thus delivering care in a tailor-made manner that recognizes each and every case as unique. As demanded by the founders of nursing theories, there is the need to ensure that any nursing undertaking has elements of care and compassion and is rendered in a manner that upholds mutual respect between the caregiver and the patient.

It is this mutual respect that helps in creating the much-needed trust that enhances the quality of the services offered. However, from the analysis of the literature review it becomes evident that there is an apparent gap of information on how interaction should be handled regarding corresponding powers the parties have with respect to one another. Moreover, there is also a clear gap regarding uniqueness of interpersonal communication based on different conditions that patients have. Besides, with the barriers still present in the sector there is the need to carry out more researches on how best to encourage this culture in the healthcare sector. Considering these gaps, the following research questions present a good approach to ensuring better understanding of how to integrate interpersonal communication in the healthcare sector.

  • How can barriers to successful interpersonal communication between caregivers and patients be eliminated holistically?
  • In line with a need to sustain the culture of interpersonal communication in the healthcare sector, how can the interaction be regulated to cater for the uniqueness of the patients’ demands?
  • What elements should caregivers and patients be taught with a view to empowering them to be better players in the process of interpersonal communication during treatment?

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