Let me see what I can remember from school...
1. Verbal & Non Verbal Skills---
Make eye contact with your patient and maintain that all times possible.
Introduce yourself and what you will be doing with the patient. EX:Vital Signs
If you have a patient that is hard of hearing, touch them gently if they do not answer you when you come in the room. Keep eye contact with these patients and speak in a normal tone of voice and speak clearly. If they have hearing aids assist them to put them in to help with the communication.
Use open-ended questions instead of the closed-ended questions(ones with just a yes or no response). There are some questions that you must use that are considered closed-ended, but the best approach is those that will allow the patient to let you know what is going on with them.
When you ask a question, if the patient appears not to understand, ask them if they have a question regarding what you just said.
One very important point is before you leave a patients room, make sure they are able to reach the call light, if side rails need up make sure they are, offer them a drink of water(if they are allowed), ask if they need to use the bathroom, etc. If you tell them you will be back within a certain time frame, make sure you are, even if it is only for a minute. Patients are very responsive to a Nurse that gives a caring attitude.
2. Rationale for using different approaches to communication with patients----
Each patient is an individual and needs to be treated as an individual. You will in time learn the patients that are responsive to one technique of questioning may not apply to another patient. Another thing to do is research the differant ethnic backgrounds of patients. I worked in a hospital where most of the patients were of American Indian Heritage. These patients, especially the elderly, will tend not to speak with you because of their upbringing. They are also some who will have certain personal articles that they do not want you to touch due to their beliefs. Also check their religious preferance. This also is a factor in dealing with a patient for certain religions forbid cetain types of Medical Care. By being able to know some background on the patient besides the medical part of their problem will aide in effective communication with your patient.
3. Philosophy of Care----
Every individual has the right to understand what is being done to them. By being informed and able to answer any questions they may have will help with your communication. Remember, patients are usually scared because they are uncertain of what is goin on around them, this includes all age groups. If you are unable to address any of their questions, make sure that you seek out another colleque to help with the answer.
I hope this helps some. I know there is more and if you have any more direct questions please feel free to e-mail me at:
The most important thing to remember is to treat the "Whole Patient--Holilistic Care" not just the problem.
You also might wish to go to www.nurse.com
and click on links and see if there is any info there to give you some answers. Good Luck and welcome to the Wonderful World of Nursing!!!
MNM--A Step for Our Future, 2001
Proud to be a Nurse