---First of all, I am a diabetes educator, so my answers are mostly directed into the teaching arena.
What is communication with non-English speakers like? In what way would you try to convey your message?
----I agree with the vital use of an interpreter. To go without, or use a family member as an interpreter is legally not acceptable. So, we have facility interpreters. Sometimes the use of an AT&T interpreter is needed. If so, use it. In conveying the message, I try to simplify as much as possible and use many gestures and visual aids. We have some materials that are specific to different languages. If possible, seek those.
What is the communication with children like? ---It depends on the age. For toddlers and babies, it's the use of gentle tones, smiles, and bright colored interesting objects. The parents are the ones that need the direct attention. Showing top care of their child and explaining everything the the parent is vital. For younger children, the use of play helps.
How do you convey your message if they won't listen to you, refuse medication or become difficult? ---I'm guessing you are referring to a younger child. Allowing them to make a choice sometimes helps....Where would you like your medicine (injections).....Would you like mommy to hold you while you take your medicine, or would you rather lie on the bed? Refusal... bribing (I never made much of a peds nurse, so I'm not much help there.) But, play therapy made an excellent teaching situation.
How do you deal and communicate with elderly patients? ---Treat them with respect...Mr/Mrs. The above tips are very important. I also like to talk with them on their level. If they don't understand complex terms, use their language to explain. After the MD sees them I frequently ask them if they understood what the Dr. said. Many of them don't know at all, because they tend to be a little excited/tense. Some figure that the Dr. knows, why do I have to know? Helping them understand what is important and how it affects them sometimes helps.
Is there difficulty? I work primarily with older people and really enjoy. Some learn painstakingly slow, which takes lots of patience. However, that doesn't mean that they're stupid. They need much positive feedback on a timely basis to encourage them to do better, be it physical therapy, or checking their blood sugar. Adults are primarily self-motivated learners. If they think it is important, they will do it.
What kind of patients do you have especially have difficulty communicating with? I don't really have any trouble communicating with anyone. However, there are some groups that I just don't enjoy as much, and that is teenagers. They are at the age in which they think they know everything and don't need to listen to anyone else. So frequently the respect factor is missing. That is the group I try to avoid, simply because I don't enjoy it. So, to all you peds nurses, you have my hat tipped to you!
Non verbal communication (body language, tone)-how competent are you with non verbal communication elicited by your patients?
Since I've been a nurse for 27 years, the non-verbal communication is about 90% of the encounter in my assessment. After all, only 10% is verbal, and 90% is non-verbal, from the research I've read. I consider myself well versed in no-verbal communication.
If you are having difficulty communicating with some of your patients, what do you do to overcome this? ---Keep trying different ways to make it better. Creatively think of alternative ways to communication. If it is someone there is more of a personality conflict, I'll level with the person and say, I've feeling that perhaps you might do better with another nurse. If one is available, would you prefer to work with someone else?
Do you have difficulty communicating with handicapped people? If so, in what way and what do you do to overcome this? ---Handicapped people are the same as we are. They have the same feelings as we do. I believe they just want to be treated like everyone else, so I treat them with respect, just as I treat others.
What is the most important characteristics of a professional nurse in terms of communicating with the people for whom they care?
---Courtesy, respect, honesty, knowledgeable, accurate, succinct, kind, and caring. (Not necessarily in that order)