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Importance of Communication in Nursing

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Importance of Communication in Nursing Care Ms. Sheryn cynthia, Academic Co-ordinator, Department of Ophthalmic Assistance, Aravind Eye Hospital, Madurai

Unspoken thoughts of a patient to a health care professional:  I am a patient. Receiving professional professional treatment is an uncomfortable experience experience for me because I do not fully know what is going on. Usually I know more about me me than anyone one else. It is rare that another person can tell me  something about me me that I do not already already know or understand. Now, however, I find myself in in a situation  that is an exception to this rule. I believe that because of your authoritative position, your expertise  and your accessibility to my health records you know more about me than I know about myself.  As a result, when you speak I listen listen and I probably will remember a lot of what you you say.  I am eager to find find out as much as I can about myself from you, as I discover discover more about myself, myself, I feel more more secure and comfortable in my position as patient. Not only are your words important to me but how you say these words and what you do while you talk to me are equally important. If you withhold information about me,  you make me feel like a child; I feel less secure. If you do things for me without any input from me, or   if you take me for granted as you do your duties, I feel powerless.  From: Interpersonal Interpersonal Communication- A handbook for health care care professionals.

- G eorg rge e M. G 7a 7azzda, Wi lliam C. Chi ld lde ers, R ichard P. Wa W alte lterr s The oft-repeated words “customer satisfaction” are as important in the field of health as they are in any other successful venture. It is important for health care personnel to understand the doubts, fears and the anxieties of the patients who come to them for  treatment. This empathy is possible possible only if there is  pr op er co m mu ni ca ti on . Bo th th e ph ys ic al examination and surgery can become routine for  health care professionals and thus can make many of us blind to the doubts and concerns that are so obvious in the patients’ faces. One tends to be preoccupied with the examination of the patients and neglects their concerns. Answering questions and wearing a reassuring smile smile can go a long way in improving patient satisfaction. An experienced and devoted nurse or health care professional not only  performs the given given job but but is sensitive sensitive to and aware of the patients’ other needs. She/he takes time to assuage the patients’ fear and help them become more comfortable in the given situation. The patients usually have several doubts and questions in their minds. For example, after the  preliminary exam, the patients are usually advised to have their eyes dilated. The patients wonder why this is necessary. Why is the doctor not giving them

minds of the patients. Though they may not ask the questions verbally, their expressions will display their confusion. In this situation the nurse should, in a very polite manner, explain to the patients that their  eyes needed to be dilated in order that the doctor  could examine them better. better. The nurse nurse should should also tell patients that the dilating drops might irritate their  eyes. Most of the patients at Aravind visit the hospital to have cataract surgery. As part of the preoperative examination, the tension in the eye is checked. The

an injection or prescribing medication for for their  affected eyes? Many such questions arise in the

For example, a patient admitted for surgery might say, “There’s something that is really bothering me

tonometer, an instrument that the nurse uses to measure this tension, can seem very scary to patients and they might refuse to cooperate. If the nurse explains the procedure her job becomes easier, as the patient will be cooperative. While walking around the hospital, one normally sees patients who seem to be lost, who might need a wheelchair, or who need to be physically helped. There are also circumstances in which patients are afraid to ask for help, but the request is evident in their faces. It is very important for the caregiver to sense the patients’ fears and doubts and volunteer to help.


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about the surgery and I am scared.” The patient has voiced a real concern, and the nurse should listen attentively and respond sympathetically to his questions. It is equally important to talk in an understanding tone to those who have not voiced their fears but are obviously scared. Certain situations may arise in which the patient might say, “I have been sitting here for the past 2 hours waiting for a doctor to examine me, while  patients who have come after me have already been taken inside. Engaging in this dialogue could lead to negative talk about the staff or decrease patient’s confidence in the hospital. The nurse’s response in this situation must be very polite. She should explain why the other person was taken inside. Patients may be angry about the long wait and


demand a reason for the delay. The best approach is that nurses listen to patients’ complaints and either  explain the reason or apologise for the delay. The nurses must be very careful to remain calm while they communicate. Every day the caregivers at Aravind and other  institutes encounter situations in which an understanding smile, pleasant manners and a good sense of humour can help a great deal. Good communication, which involves more listening than talking, cannot be over- emphasised. An ability to communicate well orally, through friendly gestures and with a compassionate outlook that makes one sensitive to pain and fear are some of the admirable qualities in a nurse.

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