Sample Paper on Types of communication in Nursing Practice

Types of Communication in Nursing Practice

Communication is a critical and essential aspect of the nursing practice. It is referred as therapeutic communication and involves the nurse and a patient. Effective communication is crucial in the nursing practice because it helps the patient improve physically and emotionally. According to Boyd & Dare (2014), nurses can rely on various types of communications to help patients express themselves in a way that establishes acceptance and respect. Good interaction between a nurse and the patients gives the patients some sense of safety and trust for the nurse. It helps patients feel that someone understands their feelings and cares for them. Nurses also benefit from effective communication because positive interaction helps them create rapport with the patient. Bach, Grant & Bach (2015) also note that when nurses are conversant with better communication skills, the can obtain crucial information about the patient such as medical history or past treatments and thus be able to design an individualized healthcare for the patient. Therapeutic communication is based on two broad types of communication. This essay explores the verbal and non-verbal types of therapeutic communication and provides detailed examples of each type of communication.

Non-Verbal Communication

Non-verbal communication can be as efficient and effective as verbal communication in the nursing practice. Hayes & Rohani (2012) demonstrate that the body language, gestures, posture, facial expression, the eye contact, and touch are common types of non-verbal communication skills that enhance the interaction between nurses and patients. Touch is one of the most effective forms of non-verbal communication that occurs instinctively. In particular, when a patient is upset, touching them gently is a way of showing care for them. In such situations, nurses need to hold the patient’s hand or tap their shoulder as a sign of showing care towards them. Marinating a direct eye contact with the patients when addressing them helps in creating rapport and shows them that someone is listening to them. The way nurses look at patients can tell whether they are interested in whatever they say and could go a long way in maintaining the flow of the conversation (Bach, Grant & Bach, 2015). Failure to maintain a direct eye contact with the patient could be interpreted as lack of interest in their concerns or queries and should be avoided at all costs. Facial expression and body language tell a lot, especially when dealing with patients who have undergone some procedures. Nurses must be careful not to show patients through body language or facial expressions that terrible injuries sustained from an accident have an effect on them. When dealing with such patients, nurses have to cope with changes such as bad smell both physically and mentally.

The written form is another effective type of non-verbal communication that nurses can rely on when addressing patients. Bach, Grant & Bach (2015) reveal that during admission, each patient has a personal file containing medical details in it. The file also contains information such as previous treatment and history as well as correspondence from physicians who have handled the patient. Nurses also maintain a record of nursing notes tracking the progress of the patients under their care. This information is useful as it provides an insight into the patient’s health problems and progress. The nursing notes also help other nurses, particularly during shifts, to know the needs of each patient. They help the incoming nurse to understand the patient’s routine and how to handle them going forward. It is a requirement that nurses maintain an up-to-date record of each patient to prevent patients’ condition from worsening especially after the incoming nurse takes over (Bach, Grant & Bach, 2015). Doctors also refer to nursing notes as they provide a brief idea of the patient before they administer treatment. Record keeping at every stage is a crucial part of the nursing practice and is necessary for the provision of effective and safe healthcare.

Verbal Communication

While the non-verbal communication skills are essential, interpreting them is often a problem. However, when used interchangeably with verbal communication, it can reflect the patient’s intended message accurately. According to Boyd & Dare (2014), verbal communication is ideal when the patient and the nurse can express themselves clearly. Verbal communication improves the satisfaction level when used consciously and in good taste. Good verbal communication skills are necessary to grasp ideas and information from the patients. When engaging in any conversation, the tone of voice of both the nurse and the patient is an important element as it tells more about the feeling. Listening carefully when attending to patients is also a crucial element that makes the communication enjoyable and effective. For instance, there is a handover of patients that every nurse was taking care of at the start and at the end of every shift. During this times, verbal communication is necessary to pass the necessary information about the patients under care. It is during this time that nurses need to give every detail about treatment for every patient, the drugs that need to be administered to each patient, and any procedures that the patients may have had. Queries or problems with any patient needs to be verbally passed on to the incoming nurses so that they need not go back to the notes. Traits such as ensuring that a nurse identifies the patients by name helps in building the relationship with them as they feel respected and recognized (Boyd & Dare, 2014). Having a sense of humor is also an excellent way of building rapport with the patients, as far as it is in good faith and taste. Other than putting the patients at ease, it also strengthens the bond between the patients and the nurse.

In summary, it takes an effort to understand patients whether nurses use the verbal or non-verbal form of communication. A mix of verbal and non-verbal communication skills is ideal for a nursing setting as it helps nurses enhance their interaction with patients. They help nurses treat patients with dignity as well as to respect them as individuals. Effective communication in the nursing practice occurs when patients and nurses can understand each other clearly without barriers. Good mastery of verbal and non-verbal skills is essential for breaking communication barriers with patients and their immediate families. It puts the patients at ease knowing that someone not only understands their language but also truly cares for them. Being hospitalized can be the worst experience but being able to connect well with doctors and nurses can help in driving away possible anxiety. For nurses and other health professionals dealing with people lives, effective communication with patients should be among the top agenda. Patients expect quality service which can only be achieved when there is good communication with the nurses in charge. For this reason, nurses have a responsibility of familiarizing themselves with the different types of communications mentioned above.



Bach, S., Grant, A., & Bach, S. (2015). Communication & interpersonal skills in nursing. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Boyd, C., & Dare, J. (2014). Communication skills for nurses. Chichester, West Sussex, UK: Wiley Blackwell Publishers.

Hayes, D. A., & Rohani, A. (2012). Effective communication in nursing. Oxford: Oxford University Press.