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Pa Nurse. 2005 Sep;60(4):14-5.

Effective communication with patients.

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Speech-Language-Hearing Science Program, La Salle University, USA.


This brief article aims at heightening awareness about communication with various patients, including strategies to assist in improving communicative effectiveness. It assists us as health care professionals to go back to basics and reflect on how we communicate. Several researchers have provided insight into ways that communication may be enhanced. Walter, Bundy, and Donan (2005) suggested personally greeting the patient, introducing oneself, engaging in talk about clinical concerns, and then discussing next steps toward healthcare solutions. Schillinger (2003) implored that health related jargon be avoided and that all messages be clear and simple. Illustrations in the form of black-white line drawn pictures also tend to assist in patient comprehension. Lawton and Carroll (2005) suggested that effective communication requires assessing what the patient knows about their illness. Seidel's model (2004) stated that healthcare providers listen to the patient's story and elicit information through questioning with sufficient time allotted to provide answers. He also discussed the importance of providing a short summary of what the patient conveyed and giving additional information so they learn more about what is happening to them and can become an active participant in making decisions. It is important that patients understand what we as healthcare professionals say to them. Wisner (1999) further conveyed that it is not words alone that communicate. Body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice often provide additional clues influencing communicative effectiveness. Without a doubt, communication, directly impacts service delivery and quality of care in healthcare today. Listen to your patients, they have much to say.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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