Communication is possibly one of the most important tasks nurses perform in the execution of their duties. We may as a matter of habit take for granted the way we greet and end encounters with those around us, not considering what these actions portray. As professionals greater emphasis must be attached to these encounters if we are to leave patients with a positive attitude. When we the look at the process of opening and closing encounters' all aspects of communication: verbal, non-verbal, appearance, knowledge and interpersonal skills must be examined and scrutinized whilst dealing with patients. The importance of self-awareness should not be overlooked.
Kagan (1985) says, One essential factor in good interpersonal interaction is self-awareness. The saying first impressions last' could be well heeded by all nurses, ignoring this just might leave the patient with an ill-defined reflection of yourself and the area you are working in. Fontana (1990) says ...first impressions are important, we need to work at them. Our interactions should be patient centered. We should consider that these encounters are more likely to succeed, in having the desired outcome, if we think along the lines of person to person communication and not nurse to patient. With attention draw to these factors the author will attempt to guide the reader through the process of opening and closing encounters' leading to a positive attitude and perception in the patient / client'.
[...] Porrit (1991) says, “Non-verbal communication is an important yet overlooked part of a whole communication and the interactions which occur between people”. Faulkner (1992) adds, “Many first impressions are made on the basis of non-verbal signals”, so the importance of NVC is not be ignored. So, after our initial visual contact and smile what else should be taken into consideration? Another NVC that we must be conscious of appearance, Porrit (1991) says, “While appearance may provide useful clues for health professionals to follow up, remember that can't judge a book by its cover'” and goes on to add, aware of assumptions you are making and of how these may affect the interaction”. [...]
[...] Our tone of voice, position of ourselves in accordance with the patient, vocabulary used, appearance etc., put these into the circumstance they are used and they will be vital in our evaluations to increase self-awareness. Ask colleagues to monitor your interpersonal skills whilst communicating with a patient and feed back to you. Someone watching from the outside will have a different perspective on the interaction and comments from this observation could be useful. Try to put yourself in the other person's shoes and be truthful in the appraisal of your work. [...]
[...] Throughout the compilation of this essay from researching to writing the author has been surprised by the amount of the communication process which he has taken for granted, the extent of his actions that are unconscious and his lack of personal self-awareness. Many of us feel we have good communication skills but the author proposes that if we honestly evaluate our encounters areas will become uncovered that require serious consideration. Communication is such a basic skill that we often take it for granted (Grensing-Pophal 1997). [...]
[...] The author has found that a patient usually will usually tell you how they would like to be addressed, thus breaking down the first barrier and beginning to get them to feel at ease. Knowing how to address a patient is only the start. Greater knowledge is sometimes required as the author found when trying to assist a patient who has a learning disability to dress. After introducing himself he set about assisting the patient only to be told, some sense, its Sid's van colors today”. [...]
[...] Try to imagine yourself in the similar situation with little knowledge of medical terminology and with a nurse regurgitating medical terms as if straight out of a textbook. If you had a passive personality and did not like to ask questions you would not be inclined to pursue anything that had been misunderstood for the possibility of looking and feeling inadequate. Attentiveness of restraints on communication must be observed. Hardness of hearing, speech affected by a stroke, nationality, gender issues, levels of consciousness and mental impairment will have an overriding affect on the vocabulary used and the context it is used in. [...]
using our reader.