Effective communication is the key component of all the core skills required by nurses. childrens nurses need the ability to listen and build empathy in order to summarise and explain situations , consult and negotiate with children young people and their families.(DOH 2005)
“nurses should be taugh to think of each patients care in total and not just as a series of tasks to be performed”(lelean 1973)
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A study by the child nursing branch of Bachelor of nursing uni of birmingham completed a study asking child patients in hospital what they thought were essential skills needed to be a good childrens nurse, One main theme that emerged was the ability to connect with children, they specified qualities such as willingness to listen, non judgemental, explaining what is happening using non medical jargon, speaking calmly and nicely.(Paediatric nursing 2008)
It is important that children develope relationships of trust with their nurses.Evdence shows that children can give detailed insight when consulted by their nurse which is often significantly different to accounts given to parents and carers (miller 2000)
Nurses also need effective communication skills when working with colleugues and other professionals, care of a patient often involves a multitude of professionals from GPS, consultants,health visitors, therapists and social services. Communication with other professionals may involve letters, written or typed, emails and patients notes. Writing must be legible, letters and emails sent to the correct recipient and all necessary information should be included so that the patient recieves all the required support and care. specifically For nurses, communication between ward staff during handover is key in order that patients recieve safe,appropriate and consistent care.
A study by Sylvia Lelean in 1973 found that verbal reporting at handover led to inadequate care of patients, senior nurses passed instructions verbally to junior nurses who were not given the opportunity to ask questions or discuss patients care further. The result was vital information not being recieved and inconsistent patient care.(lelean s 2006).Any information required at shift handover should be written down, comprehensive and legible, as well as passed on verbally, to ensure safe practice.
There are 2 types of communication, verbal and non verbal. verbal communication involves the spoken and the written word. Non verbal communication includes, hand gestures, body language,facial expressions, tone of voice, touch and eye contact and makes up 80% of communication. Often non verbal communication can relay more information that verbal communication and nurses need to be aware of the messages their non verbal communication can express and there impact on patients and their families.It is essential that nurses have the skills to recognise the non verbal communication of patients and their families.Our facial expressions and body language can express how we are physically and emotionally, what we are thinking and how we are feeling.
when nursing children in particular one of the main barriers to communication is often a lack of verbal skills and understanding, which prevents them from expressing how they feel. Nurses can observe children and need to be able to recognise and interprete these signals to establish such things as location, type and level of pain, emotional wellbeing of child, eg fear, anger or shyness and physical wellbeing eg temperature, hunger, nausea. As communication is a two way process nurses also need to be able to deliver information and explainations to children and their families in a way that is appropriate to their level of conceptual understanding, using language that they can readily understand whilst considering other factors such as health beliefs, culture and past experiences. (Douglas 1993)
In addition to language, there are many other barriers to communication faced by nurses. These include patients physical disabilities such as blindness and deafness, lack of understanding caused by learning disabilities,high levels of emotion, pain or distraction. nurses need to find strategies for overcoming all types of barriers to communication in order to develope relationships of trust and empathy with patients and their families and work with other professionals to provide the best possible level of care and support.
“Holistic relates to the theory of holism which considers that individuals function as a whole and not a collection of seperate systems and parts Holistic nursing therefore considers the physical psychological emotional social and spiritual needs of the individual.(Brooker 2005)
Douglas J (1993) Psychology and nursing children Leicester BPS Books
DOH Department of health 2005 Common core skills and knowledge for the childrens workforce London TSO
paediatric nursing 2008 vol 20 issue 5 RCN publishing
Miller 2000 researching children :issues arising from a phenomenological study with children who have diabetes mellitus Journal of advanced nursing 31,5, 1228-1234
Lelean s 1973 Ready for report nurse? research monograph RCN london
Brooker c 2005 dictionary of nursing 19th edition philadelphia usa Elsevier ltd
Paediatric nursing 2006 vol 18 issue 8 RCN publishing
British journal of nursing 2006 vol 15 london MA healthcare ltd
paediatric nursing 2008 vol 20 issue 5 RCN publishing
Sully P 2005 Essential communication skills for nursing philadelphia usa elsevier ltd
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