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Communication Style Case Study Essay

“Communication is an ongoing, complex ever-changing process between two or more individuals to convey a message” (Hansten & Jackson, 2009). Effective communication in the healthcare field is an essential piece to delivering competent client care. Effective communication is not only needed to relay the importance of instructions and tasks to our peers in the treatment team, but to provide respect to our coworkers and create a positive working environment. Communication styles are important and can contribute or hinder the process of maintaining effective communication in the workplace. This paper aims to analyze the communication styles in four different communication scenarios.

Scenario One

There are two communication style used in scenario one. The Registered Nurse (RN) engaged in aggressive communication whereas the assistive personnel (AP) engaged in passive communication. Aggressive behavior and communication is hostile in intent and is usually communicated through talking at people and not with people. The aggressive communication was used when the RN belittled the AP with an upraised tone, and inappropriate comments such as,” you are only the aide”, and “we don’t expect you to think, just to do what we tell you to do.” (Hansten & Jackson, 2009). According to Hansten & Jackson (2009), this communication style successfully suppresses ideas and feedback from others and creates a tension filled relationship (p. 281). This communication style inflicts a tone of supremacy, statements which direct blame, and labeling. These negative communications often times can cause the other person to feel humiliated, angry and hurt. The AP was experiencing feelings of anger and resentment and these feelings elicited a response of revenge in this scenario.

The AP in this scenario has shown a passive style of communication because he feels it is necessary to keep his job. Passive behavior is often not idyllic due to it being an act of avoidance to the situation that is presented, which the AP showed by quietly sitting and not voicing his concerns. People who exhibit passive behavior often have feelings of hurt, embarrassment, fright, coyness, and apprehension. Because of the communication of the RN being aggressive it has evoked a passive behavior and communication style on the part of the AP. The passive communicator allows the anger and resentment to build up which ultimately leads to the passive communicator to expose these feelings through outlets of subtle sabotage, manipulation and punishment.

This is exactly what the AP in the scenario exhibited when he thought to begin a plan on how he’d make the RN pay for her comments. This is an example of a cycle of authoritarianism and indirect aggression which results in poor work relationships, the compromise of client care in order to revenge communications and breakdowns in communication between the treatment team.

Scenario Two

The school nurse in this scenario has chosen a passive non-assertive communication style. This is evident through the nurse choosing to avoid the immediate conflict of confronting the volunteer and choosing to take the work load upon her-self. The problem is not going to be faced which will ultimately lead up to the problems multiplying for the nurse because she physically cannot redo every test performed forever, she will become bitter and angry. “A passive response is based on the fear of rejection and retaliation caused by displeasing others. Conflict is avoided at the price of denying one’s own feelings and needs” (Hansten & Jackson, 2009). This passive and avoidant behavior can lead to nursing fatigue and burnout.

This can also lead to her volunteers feeling confused and angry, thinking the nurse doesn’t value or trust their work. This communication style although not outwardly hostile or aggressive due to avoidance of conflict, can cause feeling of hostility which may lead to manipulative behaviors. The school nurse in this scenario has not corrected the problem by educating her volunteers so the incorrect results will keep being brought to her and she will end up becoming bitter and angry with her volunteers leading to a breakdown in communication and possibly a hostile work environment.

Scenario Three

This scenario also involved two different communication styles. The manager was using assertive communication and the surgical tech was using aggressive communication. The manager in this this scenario clearly addressed the problem by expressing what she observed, thought, felt and wanted from the situation. She addressed the problem by approaching the surgical tech and stated her wants without belittling the tech. She was very clear even using the surgical techs job description.

This communication style promotes a trusting relationship with other coworkers because they know you will address the problem with them and not talk about the situation inappropriately with other staff member. This communication is essential in healthcare because it is a vital core to effective delegation. This communication does not compromise client care because it addresses problems and sets clear expectations to fix the problem which leads to changes.

The surgical tech in this scenario used aggressive communication. This was evident by her statement that she’d “get Rosa’s head on a platter.”(Hansten & Jackson, 2009). The goal of her claim was to dominate and hurt her manager which is a characteristic of aggressive communication. Threatening your coworkers and superiors shows a lack of respect for the workplace and other. This can compromise the working environment which can lead to a breakdown in patient care.

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