Fundamentals - Principles, part 7: Nursing Communication

by Meris Shuwarger July 16, 2021

Full Transcript

Hi! I'm Meris, and today we're going to be talking about communication. I'm going to be following along with the Fundamentals of Nursing flashcards available on If you are following along with me, I'm starting on card number 18. There is a lot of bold red text on these cards, so be sure to pay attention to that because we called out the really important details. And we do have some Cool Chicken hints to help you remember the most important content coming up.

So first up, we're going to be talking about the communication process and the levels of communication. So the communication process is made up of:

the sender, the person sending the message,

the receiver, the person receiving the message,

the message itself, which is the information being sent,

the channel, which is the format in which the message is being sent, such as verbal, through email, through video,

and then feedback, which is the receiver's response to the message.

We also have communication levels.

So we have intrapersonal, which is a person's own, internal thoughts that's happening inside their head. We have an awesome Cool Chicken hint here, which is intrapersonal has an A for alone. If you have a better way to remember it, let me know in the comments now.

We also have interpersonal. Interpersonal is for communication between two people.

Then we have small group, so that would be speaking to a small group, maybe like a small staff meeting or something along that line.

And then public communication obviously is going to be communicating with a large group of people in the public forum.

Up next, we are talking about forms of nonverbal communication. Remember that communication is not just the words that you're saying, but it has to do with your posture, your body language, and those sorts of things. So let's talk about some different forms of nonverbal communication.

Your posture, like I said. If you're slumped over, if you have your arms crossed, all of that changes the nonverbal communication.

The expression. Is your face looking angry or bored, or are you excited and engaged and happy?

Eye contact. Remember that eye contact is not always a respectful gesture, so you need to be culturally competent. But if it is, then eye contact intermittently is appropriate.

Gestures. So gestures change based on the culture of the person and where you are. So things like thumbs up or nodding yes, shaking your head for no may have different meanings for other cultures.

Touch. Touch may be therapeutic. It may be a good thing to touch somebody's arm or to hold their hand, but keep in mind this is not always appropriate nonverbal communication.

And then silence. Therapeutic silence is a thing. Sometimes the best thing you can do is just listen and be there quietly.

Now we do have a good way to remember this. We have our Cool Chicken hint here. It's for effective nonverbal communication. Remember your roles, R-O-L-E-S. Relaxed body language, open posture, lean in, eye contact, sit squarely towards the patient. ROLES. If you have a better way to remember it, please let me know in the comments right now.

Okay. Now, we're going to be talking about therapeutic communication techniques. This is huge. I am telling you that you are going to be so highly tested on this because how you communicate with your patients matters for how you are able to care for them and make them feel cared for. So we have some therapeutic communication techniques. And after that, we'll talk about nontherapeutic.

Therapeutic communication techniques, a big one, and you can see it's bold and red on this card because it's very important, is using open-ended questions. We want to encourage our patients to share more with us. So a closed-ended question like a simple yes or no question, that's not going to be very therapeutic.

But something like, "Tell me more about," or, "How are you feeling?" Things like that would be open-ended so that the patient has more time to answer and they're not limited to a yes or a no.

We also have offering self. Again, that's just being with the patient, just letting them know that you're there for them.

We also have restating. So that's going to be saying what the patient said, but in a different way to confirm understanding. So our example here - and we have examples of all of these on the card - the example here is if the patient says, "I'm so anxious, I can't get to sleep," the nurse might restate to makes sure she understands and says, "Your anxiety is keeping you awake." That's restating.

So those are some therapeutic communication techniques. There's more on the card, so be sure to be familiar with all of those.

Okay. Lastly, we're going to cover non-therapeutic communication techniques. So these are techniques that you should avoid. These are techniques that we do not want to use.

On the opposite spectrum from open-ended questions are closed-ended questions. Closed-ended questions like, "Are you in pain?" That's not encouraging my patient to share too much. "Are you in pain?" versus, "Tell me about your pain," that's open-ended. "Are you in pain?" That's not very open-ended.

False reassurance. We never provide false reassurance, which means we're never going to say things like, "Everything's going to be fine," or "Oh, I'm sure your surgery is going to go just fine." We don't do that because we don't know that, and we're not going to give false reassurance because that doesn't follow the ethical principle of veracity, telling the truth.

Another one, and this is bold and red on this card. You know it's important. It's asking why. We never ask why because this gives our patient the sense that we are judging them.

So if my patient is upset, I'm not going to say, "Why are you so upset?" That doesn't really sound very good and therapeutic, does it? "Why are you so angry?" "Why don't you want to get out of bed?" And none of those questions make my patient want to share with me because it makes them feel as though they are being judged. So we absolutely want to avoid those.

A few more on this care that I'm not going to go into great detail, we have passing judgment and giving advice, leading or biased questions, or changing the subject. All of these are non-therapeutic communication techniques. And you can read more about them on the flashcard.

Okay. So that's it for communication. I hope that review was helpful. If it was, please be sure to like this video. If you have better ways to remember the content than the mnemonics that we have you, please comment below right now. We want to hear them.

Be sure to subscribe to the channel because we have some great stuff coming up, and you don't want to miss it.

For instance, in the next video, I'm going to be talking about patient education and nursing documentation, which are very important for fundamentals of nursing. Thanks so much for watching, and happy studying!

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