therapeutic communication is a skill and not something we are born with. like any skill it takes practice, practice, practice. do you recall how many failed attempts at tying shoelaces that you made before you finally got it correct? do you remember how many times you fell off your bike before you finally mastered how to maintain your balance on it? are you young enough to recollect hair-raising moments behind the wheel of your car as you mastered all those little nuances of driving? well, welcome to the world of therapeutic communication. it is going to take you some time, probably years, to know exactly the right words to think up and get out of your mouth each and every time you need them. it sometimes takes years to become good at asking open-ended questions. do not stress. hang in there.
in my 6th year as an rn i was feeling like you are now. i was doing the tasks but felt i just wasn't good enough at it. it took me years to master ivs and that was easy compared to therapeutic communication! i felt that i just wasn't polished enough. i moved back home to ohio and went to school for my bsn. the program focused on communication and leadership because we were already licensed rns. it was drummed into us. i was still bad at it, but after i graduated i was promoted into supervision and management and that is where i really got the opportunity to practice those skills. if you don't take the initiative to work at these things you will never improve. i have to tell you that i grew up in a large family where no one asked open ended questions, we got yelled at on a regular basis and my mom was an authoritarian much like dr. laura and judge judy. i thought everyone in a position of authority acted that way and i was surprised to find that it was not the way to be if one wanted to keep their job. it took me years to unlearn the behaviors i learned growing up and to learn what school was teaching me.
nursing is a personal journey of growth and learning for each of us. looks like yours, much like mine, will focus for part of it around learning how to communicate with people. for me, in the beginning, i had to learn to listen to what people were saying. even if it takes you years, the important thing is that you approach this with a positive attitude.