Effective Communication In Healthcare

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Paramedics must communicate effectively and appropriately to service users, relatives and other healthcare professionals, failure to do so may result in disciplinary action (HEALTH AND CARE PROFESSIONS COUNCIL 2012). When healthcare professionals communicate ineffectively Important information can be misinterpreted, creating confusion, ambiguity and anxiety, leading to hostile situations (McCABE & TIMMINS 2006).In England between 2011 and 2012, 10,986 complaints were made in relation to ineffective communication, and a further 12,571 related to the attitude of staff (NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE 2012). This emphasises the importance of ensuring that the health care professional’s verbal and non-verbal communication both convey the same positive…show more content…
Non-verbal communication comprises of; body language, proximity, facial expressions, eye contact and touch, and accounts for 55 percent of all communication. Paralanguage accounts for 38 percent of all communication (BORG 2009). According to some texts paralanguage is part of non-verbal communication (NOTH1995), however other texts disagree and class it as verbal communication (TRUSTY, LOOBY & SANDHU 2002). This is because paralanguage involves the use of many vocal features but without words. Features of paralanguage include; volume, pitch, tone of voice and speed of delivery.

Research shows that people who speak rapidly are perceived to have less control over a conversation than someone who speaks more slowly (TUSING & DILLARD 2000). Speaking quietly or whispering can help maintain privacy, whereas speaking loudly or shouting can signal impatience or anger. Anger and impatience can also be interpreted from a person’s tone of voice; however, a warm voice gives a friendly impression. Another vocal feature is sounds; Sighing is a useful sound used to communicate empathy and contentment but could also hint boredom (WOOD
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The mnemonic SOLER is used to remind healthcare professionals that how to that Reducing proximity, maintaining eye contact and using open postures can show they are listening and concentration on what is being said, and making the speaker feel more comfortable (KRASEZWSKI & McEWEN 2010). Active listening often involves using paraphrasing, summarising verbally what a patient has said to ensure a mutual understanding of the messages send by the patient to the healthcare professional (WALKER 1990). However paraphrasing too often can suggest the healthcare professional finds the words the interviewee uses unacceptable, causing frustration (MOSS 2012). In an evaluation of my strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats I highlighted my understanding and use of paraphrasing and active listening as strengths and facial expressions, gestures and touch as weaknesses (Appendix 1). I created an action plan to develop my understanding and use of touch in practice (Appendix
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