Communication is one of the most important aspects of mental health nursing. The interpersonal skills as well as the knowledge that are possessed by nurses are extremely critical for helping the person who is suffering from mental health issues as well as helps in development of the positive nurse client relationship (Halter 2017). Researchers are of the opinion that every mental health nurse requires to use a range of appropriate as well as effective communication and engagement skills with individuals, their caregivers and other people who are involved in the care. In this assignment, I will mainly be reflecting the important skills of communication that I would be adopting in my practice. Along with that, I will be also describing the different important outcomes that may help the patients and the family members to develop better quality life management.
Communication with mental health patients and their families are difficult. The patients are mainly seen to be either aggressive or do not want to speak and communicate with the professionals (Davis 2014). Besides, the biological aspects, social determinants like discrimination and stigmatisation of mental disorders make such patients more withdrawn. Stigmatisation often results mental health patients to isolate themselves from others in the society. They feel ashamed and feel that they would never be accepted in the society. They try to suppress their feelings and concerns that make them go through emotional turmoil. This feeling of disempowerment aggravates the symptoms and make them suffer more. Therefore, effective communication skills are important for professionals to develop therapeutic relations with the patients. Communication is established as one important aspect of making the patients feel empowered. The significance is discussed in the following paragraphs.
The first interpersonal skills that I need to develop for effective communication is active listening. When mental health nurses are seen to utilise effective listening skills, they have therapeutic effects on the patients. The mental health patients feel that they are cared and accepted in the organisation (Townsend and Morgan 2017). They feel significant as well as respected. They feel happy as they are heard and understood and make them feel that they are respected and their voices are heard. It helps in establishing a sense of trust with both the caregiver and the patient as they get the scope of pouring their heart out. With effective listening skills, I would be able to make sense of the situation as well as their experiences. They can express their emotions as well as releasing of tensions. This helps them to engage in effective care relationship with professionals. By these, I will be able to develop bind with the patient. At the same time, noticing the nonverbal attributes of the patient and their family members are also important like their ways of eye contacts, facial expressions, voice, body movement, physiological responses as well as appearance. I should provide importance to all these so that I can develop an idea about their health condition and thereby plan my intervention management.
Another important skill that I never knew included in the attributes for effective communication in mental healthcare is the touch. It is a mode of non-verbal communication. Researchers are of the opinion that touch can be used as the means of reassuring as well as breaking down the barriers between the nurse as well as the client (Williams, Llten and Bower 2016). With the help of the word touch, I am not referring to the instrumental as well as procedural touches like touches during taking pulses, applying injections, bathing or dressing the patients. With touch, I am referring to the non-procedural as well as the more spontaneous demonstration of affection. I should use appropriate touch with my patient to communicate that i am genuinely interesting in her caring procedures and trying my best to make her develop better quality life. Such touch can be demonstrated by holding the hand of the client, placing a hand on the shoulder of the client to reassure him that I am there for him and others. I will be careful that I am using touch as a form of care and respect.
Another interesting skill for effective communication, which I found from the evidence-based article, is the proper use of “silence” in communication. Researchers are of the opinion that professionals should be able to be silent and still be with the patient at the same time particularly in the times when he or she is distressed. However, it is also true that silence can still feel longer than they actually are if the persons find them to be uncomfortable (Edelman et al. 2017). Therefore as per the words of the researchers, I should learn to “sit with the silence” and this requires practice. This would help the healthcare professionals to refrain from the “filling of the space” by speaking and at the same time not allow the silence to be too long that would result in possible distress for the client. The use of silence is an effective procedure of communicating respect with the client and the family members and therefore it would help in conveying some important messages (Bramhall 2014). These are that the person is important for me, that I have time for them. It would also help my patient and his family to believe that the interaction is more than a normal conversation, the interventions are considered and planned and it is expected of him or her to pour his heart out without being judged.
Therefore, with the help of effective communication skills like listening, touch and silence, I would be able to care for the patients effectively and help them to develop better quality lives.
Bramhall, E., 2014. Effective communication skills in nursing practice. Nursing Standard (2014+), 29(14), p.53.
Davis, A., 2014. Core Communication Competencies in.
Edelman, C.L., Mandle, C.L. and Kudzma, E.C., 2017. Health Promotion Throughout the Life Span-E-Book. Elsevier Health Sciences.
Halter, M.J., 2017. Varcarolis' Foundations of Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing-E-Book: A Clinical Approach. Elsevier Health Sciences.
Townsend, M.C. and Morgan, K.I., 2017. Psychiatric mental health nursing: Concepts of care in evidence-based practice. FA Davis.
Williams, K.N., Ilten, T.B. and Bower, H., 2016. Meeting communication needs: topics of talk in the nursing home. Journal of psychosocial nursing and mental health services, 43(7), pp.38-45.
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