In healthcare you must communicate. Not communicating is not an option. Communication is a two-way process and is a complex interaction in which information passes between individuals. It is cyclical in nature as it allows messages to be sent and received and confirmed between individuals. Effective communication skills are essential within the healthcare setting to provide person-centred care ensuring that the patient’s autonomy, advocacy and wellbeing are maintained. Healthcare professionals have a unique relationship with patients, in that trust, honesty, dignity and privacy are key concepts of professional communication. There are two types of communication – verbal and non-verbal. Verbal messages can be contradicted while non-verbal communication does not reflect what is being said. Communication is multifaceted and uses skills of clarification, reflection, probing, summarising and questioning during an interaction with a patient and / or family. All efforts must be made to ensure the patient’s language and communication needs are met.
See the person as well as the disease
Breaking Bad News
- What are the elements of verbal communication?
- What are the elements of non-verbal communication?
- Outline the principles and practices of hosting a patient interview? e.g. the approach and the type of questioning
- From your clinical placement experience can you describe an interaction between a doctor and a patient, a nurse and a patient, and a pharmacist and a patient.
- Again from your clinical experience can you comment on communication between healthcare professionals
- Outline the key aspects of communicating with the following people:
A person whose first language is not English
A person who visually impaired
A person who has hearing difficulties
An older adult
A person with an intellectual difficulty
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Tate, P. (2010) The doctors communication handbook (6th ed.) Oxford: Radcliffe Publishing.
Beardsley, R.S. Kimberlin, C.L. Tindall, W.N. (2012) Communication Skills in Pharmacy Practice (6th ed). Lippincott: Philadelphia.