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Communication skills are important in one-on-one working in almost all professions. In healthcare, the skills are important in care coordination to improve patient outcome and ensure patient safety. One of the most important skills required in one-on-one working are effective communication skills (Foronda, MacWilliams and McArthur, 2016). Healthcare workers are noted to speak to various people on a daily basis. Thus, the communication inevitably needs to be effective, professional, and caring (Krautscheid, 2008). Effective communication between a patient and a caregiver is important to the building of a therapeutic relationship that has been termed as not only the heart but also the art of medicine (Ganca et al., 2016). This paper examines the interpersonal skills that are deployed in a one-on-one communication with a patient in a hospital setting to create and sustain a successful therapeutic relationship with the patient.
The scenario is an interaction between a patient and a care provider. The scenario was an interaction with a patient who was suffering from drug addiction. The patient was referred to as Mr. X for confidentiality and his privacy has been respected. Effective communications skills were deployed in the scenario and they are discussed in the paper. Various ethical issues and values that emerged have also been discussed besides the strengths and weaknesses of the interplay.
Communication skills were displayed in the scenario and this involved not only style but also content. Amongst these were attentive listening skills, empathy, and use of questions that were open-ended. Through these skills, patient involvement was noted to have improved and the patient adhered to the therapy that was provided. In the scenario, a bad news was being broken to the patient that this was noted as one of the biggest challenges in medical practice. Relationship building was thus the first issue of importance in breaking the bad news to the patient. The relationship was important in understanding the perspectives of the patient, their knowledge, as well as their expectations. Empathy as effective communication skills was powerful in the scenario in supporting the reduction of the patient’s feelings of being isolated besides validating their feelings and their thoughts to be normal (Rusu, 2017).
Excellent verbal communication was key. In the scenario, I tried as much as possible to speak with clarity accuracy as well as honesty. I took into consideration the age, the culture, as well as the health literacy of the patient. I encouraged the patient to communicate by asking him open-ended questions (Tornvall and Wilhelmsson, 2008). I also avoided technical jargon, as sentences were complete and simple. Through active listening, I listened to understand the experience of the patient. This needed complete attention that I provided. Besides, I offered complete engagement in the communication with the patient (Weger et al., 2014). Through effective listening, I was able to build trust with the patient. In addition, active listening in the scenario involved not only the verbal but also the nonverbal communication skills (Tornvall and Wilhelmsson, 2008). For instance, I nodded my head to show that I was in the same page with the patient whenever he was talking. In addition, I avoided interrupting the patient while he was talking. I maintained eye contact to let the patient aware that I was completely engaged in the conversation.
Ethics has been reported to be at the heart of health communication during practice. During the occurrence of the presented scenario, a series of moral obligations came forth that needed to be met. First, there was the need to do the best to ensure the health of the patient is improved (Guttman and Salmon, 2004). Besides, there was the obligation to avoid harming the patient in any way. The autonomy of the patient as well as his privacy was also to be respected. Equity and fairness was also to be ensured besides maximizing the greatest utility from the health promotion efforts. The possibilities of harm was noted when the messages that were deployed had the potential of causing anxiety to the patient. Respecting the autonomy of the patient is a major obligation that is considered since the patient has the right of making decisions that affect his health (Guttman and Salmon, 2004). Other rights were also respected, as it is a fundamental principle in the provision of health care.
Another ethical issue that rose in the healthcare communication was informed consent (Guttman and Salmon, 2004). The conflict of disseminating information that the patient could find offensive when the same is done was a major ethical issue of conflict. Personal responsibility also emerged as a central theme in the scenario. It raised ethical concerns as it involves epitomizing of the sense of autonomy of the patient. Roles such as opening up to family about conditions and drugs are linked with the social duties besides strengthening moral commitments to others. Thus, it was a major ethical concern that such appeals have the potential of eliciting feelings of shame and guilt in the patient in the event of adopting the recommended practices due to distinct reasons (Guttman and Salmon, 2004).
One of the strengths of the interplay was an improved patient-provider interaction. Through the improvement of the health communication skills between the healthcare provider and the patient, better healthcare outcomes were anticipated. This was ensured through the asking of open questions that fostered the discussion. Strength of the interplay that has been noted is improved patient satisfaction through the active participation of the patient in the discussion. Patient complaints were reduced as well as readmissions. A weakness of much importance that was noted was reduced internal teamwork as well as internal collaboration.
The importance in communication in healthcare is immeasurable. Communication is a crucial component of one-on-one working in healthcare in ensuring that patients receive proper care. The paper has reflected on a scenario in healthcare practice where various skills have been noted. Most of these are effective communication skills such as empathy, active listening amongst other skills. Ethical issues and values such as autonomy, privacy, and informed consent have also been noted from the scenario. It is important for a healthcare provider to have the various one-on-one working skills.
Foronda, C., MacWilliams, B. and McArthur, E., 2016. Interprofessional communication in healthcare: An integrative review. Nurse education in practice, 19, pp.36-40.
Ganca, L.L., Gwyther, L., Harding, R. and Meiring, M., 2016. What are the communication skills and needs of doctors when communicating a poor prognosis to patients and their families? A qualitative study from South Africa. SAMJ: South African Medical Journal, 106(9), pp.940-944.
Guttman, N. and Salmon, C.T., 2004. Guilt, fear, stigma and knowledge gaps: ethical issues in public health communication interventions. Bioethics, 18(6), pp.531-552.
Krautscheid, L.C., 2008. Improving communication among healthcare providers: Preparing student nurses for practice. International Journal of Nursing Education Scholarship, 5(1).
Rusu, M., 2017. Empathy and communication through Art. Review of Artistic Education, (13+ 14), pp.139-146.
Törnvall, E. and Wilhelmsson, S., 2008. Nursing documentation for communicating and evaluating care. Journal of clinical nursing, 17(16), pp.2116-2124.
Weger Jr, H., Castle Bell, G., Minei, E.M. and Robinson, M.C., 2014. The relative effectiveness of active listening in initial interactions. International Journal of Listening, 28(1), pp.13-31.
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