Modes of Communication in Nursing– There are two different modes:
- Verbal communication uses the spoken or written word.
- Non-verbal communication uses other forms such as gestures or facial expressions.
Both kinds of communication occur concurrently, the majority of communication (80 to 90%) is nonverbal. Nurses need to learn about non-verbal communication to develop effective communication pattern and relationships with clients/patients.
- Verbal Communication: It is conscious; people choose the words they use. Widevariety of feelings can be conveyed while talking. For example, sadness, annoyance etc. Pacing or rhythm is also important in communication.
When nurses choose words to say or write, consider the following criteria:
- Simplicity: Message is constructed in simple language and commonly spokenvocabulary used.
- Clarity: It means exactly what is meant.
- Timing and Relevance: No matter how clearly or simply words are stated or written,the timing needs to be appropriate to ensure that words are heard. Messages also need to relate to the interest of persons. For this nurses need to be sensitive to the patient’s needs.
- Adaptability: Spoken message need to be changed according to the behavioural cues the receiver gives. This adjustment is referred to as adaptability such as nurses needs to speak in low tone if patient is sad.
- Credibility: It means worthiness, trustworthiness and reliability. The nurse becomescredible when she has the knowledge about the subject and give correct information to patient, the reliability is developed by being consistent, dependable and honest.
Modes of Communication in Nursing
2.Non-Verbal Communication: Also called body language. It includes gestures, bodymovements and physical appearance. As non-verbal communication is controlled less consciously it tells more about a person i.e. what a person is feeling rather than what is actually said. It is necessary for nurse to gain awareness of their actions as they are under constant scrutiny by their clients. Nurses need to learn to convey understanding to respect to client’s view points, and acceptance of clients.
As a nurse you need to learn to interpret non-verbal behaviour, which requires a systematic approach. For example, you should assess peoples overall physical appearance, postures and gait and then specific parts of the body such as the face and the hands. You need to be alert to sudden changes in a person’s dress, which will indicate a loss of self-esteem or a physical illness.
Clothing of a patient is rich source of information. Clothing conveys social and financial status, culture, religion, group association and self-concept.
- Posture and Gait: Self concept, mood and health status of the person can be knownfrom the way the people walk and carry themselves. For example, tense posture and rapid determined gait indicate anger and anxiety.
- Facial Expression: We can easily know the feelings of joy, sadness, fear, surprise andanger etc. from facial expression. Even patients also observe nurses facial expression. Though nurses cannot control all the facial expression, but nurses have to learn to control feelings such as fear and disgust in certain situations. Eye muscles and mouth muscles are very expressive. Eye contacts give assurance and convey trust.
- Hand Movement and Gestures: Like face, hands are expressive. They can communicate feelings at any given moment. For Example: An anxious patient may wring his hands or pick his nails. Hands are involved in gestures. For example, the handshake is the friendly sign. Hands are also very expressive in verbal communication and to reinforce the verbal message.For people with special communication problems, such as the deaf, dumb or blind, they learn sign language with the use of hands. In sickness also when the patient cannot talk verbally uses hands to convey his needs.