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Acta Paediatr. 2016 Apr;105(4):397-406. doi: 10.1111/apa.13295. Epub 2016 Jan 21.

Communication skills training enhances nurses' ability to respond with empathy to parents' emotions in a neonatal intensive care unit.

Author information

1
Department of Pediatrics, Division of Clinical Sciences, Sahlgrenska Academy, Gothenburg University, Gothenburg, Sweden.
2
Division of Neonatology, The Queen Silvia Children's Hospital, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden.
3
The Queen Silvia Children's Hospital, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden.
4
Institute of Health and Care Sciences, Sahlgrenska Academy, Gothenburg University, Gothenburg, Sweden.

Abstract

AIM:

We quantitatively analysed the effect of a course in communication on the content of nurse-parent encounters and the ability of nurses to respond to the empathic needs of parents in a level III neonatal intensive care unit.

METHODS:

We evaluated 36 and 45 nurse-parent encounters audio recorded before and after 13 neonatal nurses attended a communication course. The number of empathic opportunities, the nurses' responses to these and the ways they involved parents in their infants' care were studied.

RESULTS:

Both before and after the course, the nurses talked more than the parents during the conversations. This nurse-centredness decreased after the course. The use of empathic or exploring responses to empathic opportunities increased from 19.9 ± 9.0% to 53.8 ± 8.9% (p = 0.027), whereas ignoring the feelings of the parents or giving inadequate advice decreased from 63.0 ± 10.0% to 27.5 ± 8.4% (p = 0.043) after the course. Use of statements expressing caring for the parents and encouragement for parents to participate in the care of their infant increased after the course (p = 0.0034 and p = 0.043, respectively). The nurses felt the course was very useful for their profession.

CONCLUSION:

A course in communication techniques improved nurses' ability to respond to parents' feelings with empathy.

KEYWORDS:

Communication skills; Neonatal intensive care; Neonatal nursing; Newborn; Training

PMID:
26648201
PMCID:
PMC5066675
DOI:
10.1111/apa.13295
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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