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Int Nurs Rev. 2011 Jun;58(2):171-80. doi: 10.1111/j.1466-7657.2010.00861.x. Epub 2011 Feb 15.

A qualitative content analysis of nurse-patient communication in Iranian nursing.

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Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.



Communication is the source of patients' health promotion, and nurses cannot do their duties without communicating with patients. Nurses with good communication skills have a great role in alleviating the stressful identity of hospitalization for both patients and their families.


To explore cultural and contextual factors influencing nurse-patient communication according to lived experiences of Iranian nurses and patients.


The participants in this qualitative study consisted of eight bachelor's degree nurses and nine patients hospitalized in surgical and medical wards of a referral teaching hospital in Tehran, Iran. Data were gathered through unstructured and semi-structured interviews as well as observations. The data were analysed using a content analysis approach.


The data analysis revealed the following theme that encompassed nurse-patient communication in Iranian nursing: 'a patient-centred attitude in the shadow of mechanistic structure'. This theme consisted of three categories: (1) communication as the essence of nursing care, (2) reactive communication and (3) difficulties of nurse-patient communication.


In spite of the nurses' and patients' belief in the importance of communication, in practice each party's role in communication leaves much to be desired. This is because of some structural and socio-cultural factors that hinder effective communication. More attention should be paid by policy makers to remove factors that hinder the nurse-patient communication process.

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