Reflective Essay On The Barriers To Communication
Reflective Essay On The Barriers To Communication

Reflective Essay On The Barriers To Communication

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  • Pages: 3 (1503 words)
  • Published: November 9, 2021
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To listen and understand a person is the most caring act by any health care profession. Therefore, one of the core requirements of a good nurse is having outstanding communication skills. Proper communication creates a rapport between the nurse and the patient to promote trust and cooperation in the plan of care (Graham and Brookey, 2008). It also helps to create a good working relationship with the multidisciplinary team responsible for patient care. This leads to the implementation of correct patient-centered interventions for better patient outcomes. However, despite communication being an everyday practice in the clinical settings, it is so not always simple to converse effectively with the patients due to the existence of several barriers. These obstacles to communication undermine teamwork efforts and prevent the delivery of patient-centered care leading to poor outcomes (Kourkouta and Papathanasiou, 2014). Therefore, it is important to understand these obstacles so as to quickly identify and eliminate them in the clinical areas for better delivery of care. This paper is a reflective essay that analyzes common barriers to effective communication in the clinical settings.

Communication is the practice of sending information and ideas from one person to another through a defined media channel. It can be verbal or non-verbal. Whichever way, the transfer should be in such a way that the receiver understands the intention and meaning of the message so as to give appropriate feedback (Morrissey and Callaghan, 2011). Therefore, communication is a cyclic process that requires three essential components: the sender, the receiver, and the message. A break in an

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y of these elements in the clinical areas impairs communication. The way in which a nurse interacts with patients has an impact on recovery time. Effective communication in the clinical setting creates a relationship with the patient that allows the collection of crucial health information for the planning and management of a patient condition (Norouzinia et al., 2015). It also promotes increased coordination of care between members of the multidisciplinary team. However, several barriers affect the communication process. These obstacles are broadly classified as physical, language, socio-psychological, organizational or cross-cultural in nature.

Using my personal reflection in the last couple of days in the ward, I identified several barriers that most medics encounter when dealing with the patients and their colleagues. I remember a session I had with one of the people with a mental health condition during a group therapy session review. I began the interview with fundamental questions about how she was feeling. After asking a few closed-ended questions, I realized that I was having several communication difficulties. To begin with, Mrs. Julie did not talk much. She only gave short and brief responses to my questions in a shaking voice. She also continuously tried to re-position herself during the interview taking several different postures at a time. Additionally, I realized that she kept asking me to repeat the questions as she could not hear them correctly plus some noises coming from a group of patients who were having a heated debate about football made it harder. Finally, I noticed that she did not understand most of my recommendations as she could not

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tell me in her words what we had agreed though she pretended to understand throughout the sessions.

Reflecting on my session with Mrs. Julie, I realized that I controlled most of the communication flow by asking closed-ended questions. These questions did not give Mrs. Julie an opportunity to express herself. They only allowed her only to answer the question posed. Since the closed-ended questions invited short answers, I found it difficult to establish a rapport with Mrs. Julie. The dominance of a conversation by one individual is a huge barrier to effective communication in the clinical settings (Norouzinia et al., 2015). Dominance occurs when the medical personnel guides the course of the interview limiting the patient’s contribution. Though it is important for healthcare providers to tailor interviews with patients to assess the essential information for proper management, it is equally important that they allow the client express his/her concerns. Open-ended questions can be used to elicit the client’s thoughts and perspectives without influencing the direction of an acceptable response (Kourkouta and Papathanasiou, 2014). This gives the patient an opportunity to provide more information on his/her perceived health needs. Nurses should use both open and closed ended questions to avoid dominance that impairs communication with patients and colleagues.

Hearing problems is another barrier to effective communication in the clinical settings (Morrissey and Callaghan, 2011). Patients with hearing impairment cannot pick up sound waves. Mrs. Julies have progressive hearing loss as evidenced by her consistent request for people to repeat instructions using a louder voice. However, she refuses to wear her hearing aid as it feels uncomfortable. As a result, she normally has problems communicating with medics and fellow patients. Nurses need to stress the need for wearing the aid to assist patients with hearing impairments pick sounds thus communicate effectively. Additionally, nurses should speak slowly and clearly for patients to read the lips. Using non-verbal cues can also promote understanding of the conveyed message (Firstein, 2016). In cases of complete hearing loss, nurses should use sign language or write to communicate with the patient. Additionally, it is important to limit background noises when dealing with patients as it can be a significant barrier to communication. There should be a secluded room free from environmental noise and other distractors to promote successful communication with people with a mental health condition (Morrissey and Callaghan, 2011).

The lack of a proper rapport with patients can also be a significant barrier to communication, especially when dealing with mentally ill patients (Morrissey and Callaghan, 2011). Mrs. Julie could not maintain eye contact during the whole session. She kept looking on the ground even when answering questions. She spoke shakily and haltingly which made it difficult for her to express her feelings. I associated this with some nervousness due to increased stigmatization of mental illness. This lack of trusting relationship made it difficult to get information from Mrs. Julie. Therefore, it is important to create a long trusting relationship with mentally ill patients to promote self-expression during interactions (Firstein, 2016). This requires the medical personnel to eliminate the status difference and go the level of the patient. Reassurance can help

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