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Interpersonal Communication and Relational Practice in Health Care Setting
Aji Thomas
NURS1101: Nursing Arts
Instructor: Aimee Ibrahim
September 26, 2018
Interpersonal Communication and Relational Practice in Health Care Setting
This assignment highlights the interpersonal communication skills including both therapeutic and non therapeutic communication and it’s feedback on a receiver in a health care setting. In an awful day I ended up seeking medical attention in an emergency department due to my daughter’s health condition, decreased mobility to lower limbs. Health care team was empathetic, co operative, treated us in a professional, respectful manner. Health care team made a thorough assessment, collected the previous history, ordered blood works and flue swab test. Asked the permission and provided privacy. Nurse came after checking the test results explained that her flu swab test is positive. Privately Health care team explained to me about findings. The doctor suspects this could be due to GBS (Guillian-Barre Syndrome) as she had flu. Doctor opted to send my daughter to different hospital. The health care team provided positive encouragement which helped me to regain my courage; confidence to deal the situation, good rapport from the team helped me to ease fears.
Communication is generally a two-way phenomenon. “Interpretation of messages relies on the receiver’s personal perspectives, experiences, values and he or she tries to decipher meaning. The responsibility relies on the sender to ensure the message is encoded (or worded, demonstrated) in such a manner that the chance of misinterpretation is minimized” (CLPNA self study course relational practice p. 2). Communication and relational practice in the above described interaction is identified as positive.
“Therapeutic communication is a process in which the nurse consciously influences a client or helps the client to a better understanding through verbal or non verbal communication.” (Mosby’s Medical Dictionary, 7th ed. 2009, Elsevier)
“There is general agreement in defining empathy as a mode of relating in which one person comes to know the mental content of another, both emotionally and cognitively, at a particular moment in time. Cognition is mental activities involved in acquiring and processing information for better understanding, whereas emotion is sharing of the affect manifested in subjectively experienced feelings. Empathy can be described as a cognitive or an emotional attribute or a combination of both.” (Journal of Nursing Education and Practice, 2014, p 75) During interaction they were empathetic by showing willingness to understand the context and perceiving my unspoken feelings.
“Active listening means being attentive to what the patient is saying both verbally and nonverbally. It enhances the trust and facilitates patient communication because it demonstrates acceptance and respect for the patient” (Potter, Perry, Stockert & Hall, 2018, p. 282). Throughout my interaction, they maintained eye contact, asking open ended questions and arms uncrossed.
“Providing relevant information that patient needs or wants to know empowers that patient to make informed decisions, experience less anxiety and feel safe and secure. Information of a distressing nature needs to be communicated with sensitivity, at a pace appropriate to what the patient can absorb and in general terms at first” (Potter, Perry, Stockert & Hall, 2018,p. 284). Team was able to provide adequate information and refer my daughter to a better facility.
“These techniques referred to as non therapeutic or blocking will often cause recipients to activate defenses to avoid being hurt or negatively affected. Non therapeutic techniques tend to discourage further expression of feelings and ideas and may engender negative responses or behaviors in other people”. (Potter Potter, Perry, Stockert & Hall, 2018, p. 285)
When a patient is reaching for understanding these phrases – “Don’t worry, everything will be all right” that are not based on fact or based on reality can do more harm than good.
“Asking personal questions that are not relevant to the situation but simply to satisfy one’s curiosity is not appropriate professional communication.” (Potter, Perry, Stockert & Hall, 2018, p. 285) This will tend to discourage further expression of feelings.
Sympathy is concern, sorrow, sadness, or pity felt for the patient generated by personal identification with the patients needs (Grover, 2005) (Potter, Perry, Stockert & Hall, 2018, p. 285).
The only non therapeutic technique used in the interaction was false reassurance. Even though they explained about the complications and limited treatment options, tend to give me reassurance by saying “everything will be all right and she will be fine” which I felt as conflict, not based on reality and therefore false reassurance. Instead of providing false reassurance in the interaction, health care provider could have provided hope with appropriate encouragement and positive feedback without minimizing the reality.

College of Licensed Practical Nurse of Alberta (2018) Relational Practice self study course Retrieved from
Letizia Dal Santo, Sabine Pohl, Luisa Saiani, Adalgisa Battistelli (2014), Empathy in the emotional interactions with patients. Is it positive for nurses too? Journal of Nursing Education and Practice, Vol. 4, No. 2, 74-81
Mosby, Inc. (2006). Mosby’s medical dictionary. (7th ed.). St. Louis: Mosby/Elsevier.
Potter, Perry, Stockert & Hall (2019) Canadian Fundamentals of Nursing (6th ed.) Toronto: Mosby/Elsevier Canada.

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