Nurses’ communication with patients, doctors, patient relatives, and other nurses is central to clinical practice. The ability to communicate is not just a personality trait; it is a set of skills that a nurse acquires in the learning process and improves in further clinical practice. Thus, the purpose of this project is to enhance nurses’ social skills before their enter into actual practice. The research focuses on preparing students for real-life communication topics in the medical world with the help of a newly developed program that combines virtual techniques with actual interactions. Thus, the expected accomplishments include increasing nursing students’ ability to communicate effectively and developing their professional communication skills.
Goals and Objectives
The main goal of the project is to develop a program that would provide the most effective training in professional communication skills for nursing students. Stemming from this, the objectives include creating a platform (or platforms) where students can practice their skills; recruitment of people who will perform the other side of communication (doctors, other nurses, patients, and family members); operationalization of various potential real-life situations and their success in terms of communication, including the creation of the list of variables.
The major internal variables would follow the SPIKES model: Setting – establishment of contact, Perception – assessment of readiness for Perception, Invitation – an invitation to dialogue, Knowledge – the message of information, Emotion – emotional support, Strategy and Summary – discussion of further actions and summing up (Hanya et al., 2017). At each stage, the doctor is required to demonstrate special communication skills. Other critical internal variables include non-verbal communication: imitating facial expressions, gestures, posture, and style of behavior. Also, it is crucial to include feedback from the other side where they give feedback to their partner on what should be corrected, whether it was comfortable, and what was done especially well. This way, each student receives feedback on their interactions and ways to improve them. Budget is one of the external variables which cannot be controlled yet has to be faced. Since the proposed project is not the cheapest in terms of cost, there might be a situation where one is short on funding. Should this happen, one suggests limiting communication scenarios to the two most critical: nurses-patients and nurses-doctors.
There will be two streams of data collection: the questionnaire of participants and the video/audio materials recorded throughout the program’s implementation. Thus, there will be a mixed-method strategy (Nomura et al., 2017). When gathering data from participants, the research will focus on a qualitative strategy since variables will deal with the experiences and perceptions. The quantitative strategy will be applied in the video/audio materials analysis process, measuring objectively manifested non-verbal communication signals (raising the voice, changing posture, facial expressions imitations, and others).
Numerous studies conducted in healthcare settings worldwide have shown significant differences in treatment outcomes between healthcare professionals who are proficient in communication skills and those who do not attach importance to these skills in their work. Such studies were performed both in institutions providing primary health care (ambulance stations, surgical departments) and in institutions providing specialized care (oncological, therapeutic, pediatric, and others). More successful in their activities were the specialists who correctly used their communication skills (Pun et al., 2015; Stovall, 2015). Thus, it is crucially important to develop the communication skills of all nurses before entering real-life interactions with patients and interprofessional teams.
The primary motivation for developing various simulators is to bridge the gap between students’ theoretical Knowledge and their communication skills in a real clinical environment. The second reason for the introduction of virtual technologies is the need to standardize the assessment of nurses’ clinical and diagnostic competencies and the possibility of repeating the clinical situation the required number of times, exploring various strategies and options for action (Foronda et al., 2020). This learning process change has the potential to benefit nurses, patients, physicians, and hospital ratings. The use of communication skills by nurses has a positive impact on their professional performance and, thus, on the whole system of healthcare in general.
Foronda, C. L., Fernandez-Burgos, M., Nadeau, C., Kelley, C. N., & Henry, M. N. (2020). Virtual simulation in nursing education: a systematic review spanning 1996 to 2018. Simulation in Healthcare, 15(1), 46-54. Web.
Hanya, M., Kanno, Y., Akasaki, J., Abe, K., Fujisaki, K., & Kamei, H. (2017). Effects of communication skill training (CST) based on SPIKES for insurance-covered pharmacy pharmacists to interact with simulated cancer patients. Journal of pharmaceutical health care and sciences, 3(1), 1-8. Web.
Nomura, O., Onishi, H., & Kato, H. (2017). Medical students can teach communication skills–a mixed-methods study of cross-year peer tutoring. BMC medical education, 17(1), 1-8. Web.
Pun, J. K., Matthiessen, C. M., Murray, K. A., & Slade, D. (2015). Factors affecting communication in emergency departments: Doctors and nurses’ perceptions of communication in a trilingual ED in Hong Kong. International Journal of Emergency Medicine, 8(1), 1-12. Web.
Stovall, M. C. (2015). Oncology communication skills training: Bringing science to the art of delivering bad news. Journal of the Advanced Practitioner in Oncology, 6(2), 162-183.