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J Emerg Nurs. 2009 Sep;35(5):406-11. doi: 10.1016/j.jen.2008.09.002. Epub 2008 Nov 17.

Nurse-patient/visitor communication in the emergency department.

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Emergency Institute, Cleveland Clinic, OH, USA.


Patients and visitors need to be encouraged to express their needs and be provided with enough relevant information so that treatment and recovery from illness are optimized. In the emergency department, it is important for nurses to create an environment of trust, respect, and acceptance. Using a survey design, a convenience sample of nurses and patients/visitors described patient/visitor communication needs and determined if needs were met during the ED encounter. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Mantel Haenszel chi(2) tests were used to determine associations between patient-rated importance of nurse communication needs and nursing communication performance. Sixty-four nurses and 123 patients/visitors completed a communication needs survey. More than 80% of patients answered "excellent" or "very good" to 6 of the top 10 important communication needs. Patient and nurse importance differed significantly on only 2 communication needs: calm voice and social status (nurses rated these needs of higher importance than patients; P = .01, P = .006). Patient-ranked importance was positively associated with patient opinion of how well needs were met in 6 of 19 patient/visitor communication needs; that is, not making assumptions about social status (P = .0006), offering reassurance to calm fears (P = .004), and teaching about primary medical concerns/conditions (P = .01). Nurse and patient/visitor perceptions of important communication are similar. Educating nurses about patient/visitor communication needs is the first step in enhancing how well nurses meet those needs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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