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Communication For Health Professionals

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Communication is the process or act of using words, sounds, signs, or behaviors to express or exchange information to another person(Silverman, Kurtz, & Draper, 2016). Communication skills coupled with communication techniques and strategies can be used to convey the information effectively. However, communication barriers exist in different conversations. Health professionals play a key role when it comes to handling of health matters especially where therapy is needed. Clinical counselors have a major role in ensuring that the communication with their patient is effective(Silverman, 2013). This study is a communication between a clinical counselor and patient. It aims atcreating an appropriate model of communication and coming up with the strategies in order to achieve an effective communication. It also aims in establishing a good rapport and establishing the possible barriers to communication.The study also involves other health professionalsand the ethics considered during the communication

The case study involves a girl by the name Katherine who one of her friend experienced fire in her kitchen last year. Recently Katherine has spent a lot of time listening to her friend experience and this has left her nervous and scared. In her fiancé’s apartment she has been distracted twice where she fears that something would catch fire while dinner was being prepared. She has been referred to a clinical counselor by a general practitioner with an aim of getting help on how to cope with the situation.

In this study, deliberative model of communication is used. It involves interpersonal interaction between the counselor and the patient. The counselor engages the patient in a dialoguewith an aim of giving moral persuasion to the patient. After moral persuasion, deliberation of the action to be taken by the patient is done. This model enable engagement with the patient to highlight various health values and benefits of reducing anxiety and fear(Parrott, & Crook, 2011). This will involve enlightening the patient about her current situation, and recommendable solutions to the health problem. This will trigger deliberate actions from the patient to undertake treatment (Eggins, & Slade, 2013). This model is appropriate because the patient is highly involved in the final decision without limiting the freedom of choosing the value she feels would be appropriate.

Building a rapport with Katherine would be the first task. This is in order to achieve a strong and a successful relationship which may have a great impact on the outcome. One of the methods that can be used in building a rapport is matching and mirroring(Saywitz, Larson, Hobbs, & Wells, 2015). This entails learning the patient’s behavior and assuming some of these behaviors. For instance one can assume her body posture or gestures. Also one can pay attention to her tone or the speed of her speech, and then match appropriately.

Understanding the mindset of the patient is another big factor towards achieving a good rapport(Otuzo?lu, &Karahan, 2013). It would be good to know that Katherine is too emotional when it comes to matters related to fire and hence there could be some difficulty in how she expresses herself. As a counselor one may have encountered a related scenario earlier where sharing it could be able to create an emotional link (Gudzune, Beach, Roter, & Cooper, 2013). By doing this you are able to encourage her to speak up hence creating an excellent interpersonal conversation(Workman, 2012).

Communication strategies employed would be important in achieving positive outcomes. One of the strategies that can be used is silent treatment where the counselor may choose to remain silent but attentive in order to perceive the verbal and nonverbal information brought by the patient (Timmins, 2012). For a counselor to have much clear information, it is advisable to ask questions related to the incident. By doing this, a counselor is able to administer care in accordance with the patient need.

Another key strategy employed by the counselor is to appear enthusiastic(Moran, &Sussman, 2014). This will encourage the patient to remain positive in the responses she gives and even more interested in talking to the clinical counselor.The last strategy is ensuring that the counselor and the patient speaks equally and being brief. This will improve interpersonal interaction making the patient to be active throughout the conversation without getting bored.


There are various factors that could make the communication ineffective. The emotional state of Katherine would highly affect the interpersonal relationship with the counselor. The fear and anxiety in the patient becomes a great barrier and this may affect the ability to clearly explain her feelings. The clinical counselor could be having challenges in coping with the patient’s emotions. A challenge can also be encountered in asking questions related to the incident to the patient. Mentioning of words like fire to the patient may arouse earlier emotionstherefore increasing the level of distress and anxiety. This renders the communication to be ineffective.

Culture diversity is another hindrance towards effective communication. People of different culture tend to be different in various ways. The language between the counselor and the patient may differ and this may result to misunderstandings and misinterpretations of the key message. Nonverbal communication such as gestures and symbols may also be different between different cultures. For instance, a symbol like nodding the head may have different meanings in different cultures making its use to be misinterpreted. The patient may have a distrust and fear to disclose secrets to culturally different counselor.

Stereotyping could have a great impact on communication basing on various aspects such as gender, religion, and age. This will create prejudices hence bringing barrier to an effective communication. The counselor may also be using technical medical jargons in the line of his career which are too complicated to be understood by the patient and this creates disconnection in the conversion.

Barriers to effective communication can be overcome using various approaches. Cultural barriers, for instance, can be overcome by the counselor learning client’s culture through doing some research. By going deep in understanding the patient culture, it creates good feeling and this may boost the client openness to the counselor. It would even boost the patient confidence to visit again in future. The counselor should be aware of the barrier as a result of medical jargons and should use simple language and continuously check whether the client understands through appropriate feedback. This can be done by asking a question related to what the discussion entailed and evaluating the answer.

Counseling coupled with other professionals may have a great impact on a patient experiencing emotional, behavior and mental health problems. Health professionals like clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, and medical general practices would be important in solving Katherine issues. Psychologist would assist in provision of therapy and diagnosis to the client. Psychiatrist would help in treatment of emotional illness which includes assigning the right medication to the patient.

Sharing the knowledge gathered during this communication with other health professionals could be of importance so that they may be informed on how to handle the patient. This enhances decision making and improves synergy among the professionals. One of the information to be shared is about the mental condition of the patient. This will assist in determining the best method of treatment to be used hence improving the quality of patient care.

The counselor have a role in speculating whether the mental condition of the patient is good and make recommendations as to whether further screening  should be made by the psychiatrist. This information may aid in improving the patient trust and satisfaction.

Inter-professional communication will also aim in assisting Katherine to conquer the emotions, fears, and anxiety. It would be appropriate to consult other health professionals’to assist in coming up with proper cognitive behavioral therapy. The aim of this therapy is to reduce the negative thoughts on Katherine mind. Therapist should invest on making Katherine understand that caution measures can be taken to avoid fire spreading such as having fire extinguishers in her house.

Ethical issues on the communication among health professionals must be considered. Health care professionals should have good relationship among themselves. This enhances their service delivery to provide a better care to patients. Inter professional communication should be guided by respect and contribution of each member should be treated also by respect. ("Health Care Ethics", 2011)

Health professionals should work together as a team to deliver quality patient care with each member entitled to understand his or her role in the team. The patients should be made to understand the role of the team members. All the involved health professionals should coordinate towards delivering the information accurately to the patient and the family in a timely manner. In case a member of the team delegates duty to another health professional, it is important to give enough information about the patient and the progress in treatment. ("Health Care Ethics", 2011) This ensures quality service is delivered to the patient

In conclusion, it is clear that health communication plays a vital role especially to patients with mental health problems such as emotions and anxiety. The model of communication chosen has an influence on the communication effectiveness.  Effective communication can be effected by employing appealing strategies and establishing a good rapport between the counselor and the patient in order to achieve the set purpose. The counselor should be aware of the cultural diversity and be sensitive to overcome such barriers. Synergy among health professionals has an impact on the final decision made in provision of quality health care.



Eggins, S., & Slade, D. (2013). Clinical handover as an interactive event: Informational and interactional communication strategies in effective shift-change handovers. Communication & Medicine, 9(3).

Gudzune, K., Beach, M., Roter, D., & Cooper, L. (2013). Physicians build less rapport with obese patients. Obesity, 21(10), 2146-2152.

Health Care Ethics. (2011). Online Journal Of Health Ethics, 7.

Moran, M., &Sussman, S. (2014). Translating the Link between Social Identity and Health Behavior into Effective Health Communication Strategies: An Experimental Application Using Antismoking Advertisements. Health Communication, 29(10), 1057-1066.

Otuzo?lu, M., &Karahan, A. (2013). Determining the effectiveness of illustrated communication material for communication with intubated patients at an intensive care unit. International Journal Of Nursing Practice, 20(5), 490-498.

Parrott, T., & Crook, G. (2011). Effective communication skills for doctors (1st ed.). London: BPP Learning Media.

Saywitz, K., Larson, R., Hobbs, S., & Wells, C. (2015). Developing Rapport with Children in Forensic Interviews: Systematic Review of Experimental Research. Behavioral Sciences &The Law, 33(4), 372-389.

Silverman, J., Kurtz, S., & Draper, J. (2016). Skills for Communicating with Patients, 3rd Edition (1st ed.). Boca Raton: CRC Press.

Timmins, F. (2012). Effective Communication with Patients. Nurse Education In Practice, 12(2), e19.

Workman, S. (2013). The importance of establishing a rapport with patients. BMJ, 347(sep25 1), f5745-f5745.


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