Communication in the Nurse-Patient Relationship

Topic: Nursing
Words: 1474 Pages: 5

The Description of the Participant’s Experience

During my interaction with the healthcare personnel in a Canadian-based hospital, the nurses were kind to me, but there was a significant communication gap. I had attended the hospital for medical care after suffering from intermittent fevers for some time. First, I felt lonely and somehow depressed due to the absence of my children, who were residing in India at the moment. I expected to receive high-quality care to restore my health and minimize my worries about attending the hospital. The communication problem started at the reception, where I was kept waiting for at least two hours at the reception before any nurse could attend to me. All the while, the receptionist was silent, a factor that made the waiting seem longer, and my anxiety increased. Nevertheless, I waited because I was in dire need of medical attention, and my personal doctor had recommended that I visit the hospital for further examination.

When the nurse finally came, I was taken to an examination room where I had to wait again for a few hours before the doctor came. The waiting periods seemed quite long, mainly because no one was available to talk to me. When the doctor finally came, his approach was professional, and I felt reassured. I was admitted to waiting for the results, and when they finally came out, it turned out that I was suffering from food poisoning. The ten days for which I was admitted were characterized by loneliness, despite the professional medical care offered by the nurses. I craved communication, but the nurses did not discuss with me my medical condition. I was not involved in any discussions with the doctor after my diagnosis. Essentially, my experience at the hospital was good because I received the help I needed, but I would have wished for more open communication with the healthcare personnel.

The Fictional Experience Based on the Scenario

In a general hospital in Canada, a BN student interacted with a patient complaining of fever that would occasionally come and disappear. When the BN student was called by the receptionist to meet the patient, his first impression was of a patient who needed reassurance. Looking at the patient, he could feel that she had waited for hours at the reception. At this point, the nurse knew that he had to make the patient feel more comfortable and eliminate any negative perceptions she could have developed about the hospital. Therefore, the BN student apologized for the long wait and explained that all the nurses were occupied, but they looked forward to assisting her as soon as possible. According to Riley (2020), connecting with the patient’s emotions and perceiving them correctly is vital, as highlighted in NSG 1500. At this point, the patient was assured of a good experience at the hospital.

From NSG 1500, the BN student knew that he had to go beyond mere verbal communication for high-quality interactions. The Jean Watson caring theory demonstrates that care has to precede cure by creating an excellent nurse-patient relationship (Turkel et al., 2018). Drawing from this theory, the BN student explained to the patient that she needed to see a doctor for further checkups and mentioned that she would wait for a while as the doctor was getting ready to attend to her. He requested her to follow him to the examination room, wherein he kept talking to her about the good medical care she would receive. To make her waiting time productive, the BN student offered medical journals and magazines for the patient to read and invited her to ask any questions she had about the hospital or medical care in general. This made the patient more relaxed, and she leaned backward in composure while perusing through the magazines.

In an attempt to foster an excellent nurse-patient relationship, the BN nurse was sensitive to the patient’s verbal and non-verbal cues of communication. After leading her to the examination room, the BN student noted that the patient kept looking at her handbag and knew she probably needed some privacy. He excused himself and promised to be back in a short while if the doctor would not have come. Understanding Riley’s (2020) argument that caring is the essence of nursing, the BN student reminded the doctor that the patient was ready in the examination room. After ten minutes, the nurse student returned and found that the doctor was attending to the patient, at which point he left for other duties, having promised to be available to assist at any time.

How to Be a Caring Professional Nurse

Care and professionalism are core concepts in nursing, without which the nurse-patient relationship would not be effective. According to Hagerty et al. (2017), interpersonal relationships between the nurses and their patients should be fostered by applying Peplau’s middle-range theory, emphasizing patient care through relationship building. In the case presented herein, the BN student acted professionally and within the bounds of his roles. In contrast to the first nurse, the BN student understood the importance of building a good relationship with the patient to influence their experience positively and result in better perceptions of the healthcare facility. The first nurse can be described as negligent since they did not show empathy, vital for patient experiences (Turkel et al., 2018). Asking a patient who had waited for over two hours to continue waiting for the doctor without an apology or proper explanation would make the patient uncomfortable and anxious, which would worsen their medical conditions.

The student nurse applied the knowledge gained from NSG 1400 to conduct themselves ethically, fulfilling one of the key concepts in nursing practice standards. Ethical and moral behavior entails understanding the patient’s personality and acting without breaching their privacy or cultural attributes (Harris & Panozzo, 2019). The BN student was professional in reading the patient’s non-verbal cues of communication. In response, he acted promptly by respecting the patient’s right to privacy and excusing himself politely. This is one of the vital attributes of nurses, wherein they accept that patients have personal needs which may require privacy. In addition to making the patient more comfortable, ethical conduct strengthens the nurse-patient relationship, facilitating patient recovery. According to Harris and Panozzo (2019), respecting a client’s privacy does not entail absenting yourself but rather understanding when to give room and availing yourself whenever needed. The BN student shows that this kind of professional conduct has a therapeutic role, facilitating patient recovery.

A nurse’s self-concept significantly influences their interactions with clients and determines the outcomes. As outlined in NSG 1420, nurses should comprehend their self-concepts and their patients for excellent interactions (Riley, 2020). In this case, the BN student believed in himself and understood his role in improving the client’s medical condition. He then proceeded to show the client that the hospital management was dedicated to assisting her in every possible way. By apologizing to the client for the long waiting periods, the BN student exemplified the entire hospital’s concept of care before cure, which is essential for patient recovery, according to Turkel et al. (2018). As noted in this case, a nurse should be keen to develop a good concept of themselves first and then portray the same to the patient with a clear understanding of any differences. In essence, nurses can only apply what they believe to be true.

Communication is vital for any interaction and more crucial for clients to develop positive attitudes towards themselves and the medical profession. Harris and Panozzo (2019) argue that therapeutic relationships are based on recovery-focused care, starting with effective communication. The patient, in this case, felt that although the nurses were professional, they did not foster effective communication with the patient. Sometimes, a patient’s condition may improve after engaging in constructive discussions with a healthcare professional. The BN student referred to the concept of worldviews learned in NSG 1420 to change the patient’s thoughts about loneliness which made her anxious (Riley, 2020). The client felt that her children’s absence and the lack of friends for comfort were the causes of her symptoms. The BN student talked to the patient kindly and professionally, making her feel comfortable and secure even without her family and friends.

Conclusively, a nurse-patient relationship is affected by several factors: the quality of communication and care during and after diagnosis. Therefore, a nurse should be professional, ethical, and highly knowledgeable in their practice areas. While the first nurses in the cases presented herein were professional, they did not communicate effectively. Riley (2020) notes that any excellent services may not be as fruitful as expected without communication. Therefore, a nurses’ conduct should follow the path shown by the BN student. In many cases, patients judge the quality of care by how they were received at the hospital. Although a diagnosis is essential, the client needs more care than a cure.


Hagerty, T. A., Samuels, W., Norcini-Pala, A., & Gigliotti, E. (2017). Peplau’s theory of interpersonal relations: An alternate factor structure for patient experience data? Nursing Science Quarterly, 30(2), 160–167. Web.

Harris, B., & Panozzo, G. (2019). Barriers to recovery‐focused care within therapeutic relationships in nursing: Attitudes and perceptions. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 28(5), 1220-1227. Web.

Riley, J. B. (2020). Communication in nursing – E-book (9th ed.). Elsevier Health Sciences.

Turkel, M. C., Watson, J., & Giovannoni, J. (2018). Caring science or science of caring. Nursing Science Quarterly, 31(1), 66–71. Web.

Nursing Informatics Competency
Patient Care and Nursing Care Delivery Models