Communication style is the method used to deliver our messages to others. Its outcome is affected by the style chosen by the individual to relay our message. The different styles are passive, assertive, aggressive, passive-aggressive. Throughout my experience in healthcare, I have either witness or taken part in different situations that used different styles of communication. There are three specific personal scenarios that come to mind when I think about the different styles of communication. First Personal Scenario
During a nursing school hospital rotation I was assigned to follow a registered nurse and witness communication between the nurse and client. The nurse entered the clients room and without a courteous greeting such as good morning or a simple hello stated, “Mrs. Jones here is your medication.” The client responded, “I do not want it. All you do all day is give me too much medication.” The nurse replied with a firm tone of voice and eye rolling, “You have to take it. How do you expect to get better if you do not take your medicine?” Both the nurse and client used aggressive communication. The nurse could prevent the conflict with the client had she initiated an assertive style of communication.
To improve the communication the nurse should respond assertively with a moderate voice pitch, a relaxed body stance, acknowledge the clients feelings, and encourage the client to address her concerns (Arnold & Boggs, 2011). Also the nurse should explain why the client is being given the medication to help the client understand the reason. According to Hansten and Jackson (2009), to make communication clear we must explain why we need to take such actions. In this scenario the outcome using an aggressive style will lead to failure to achieve a client focused therapeutic relationship. Instead the client feels that they cannot trust the nurse and respond aggressively. Trust is an essential component to a therapeutic relationship (Arnold & Boggs, 2011). Had the nurse approached the client with a simple greeting followed by the name of medication and the reason for taking it, perhaps the client would have been more willing to be compliant with the recommended care. Second Personal Scenario
Recently I witness a situation where a nursing assistant was sitting at the nursing station and the nurse was walking by holding medications and a water cup in her hand. The nurse asked the nursing assistant, “The call light is on in room five and I need to give another client his medications. Would you please see what the client needs.” The nursing assistant crosses her arms and replies, “I am tired of these lazy nurses. I always have to do everything.” The nurse rolled her eyes and replied, “Just do your job and do what I asked.” In this situation the nursing assistant responded aggressively. The nurse first used the assertive style then replied using the aggressive style. Instead the nurse should have been consistent with an assertive response.
For example she could of replied without rolling her eyes, using a medium voice pitch, abstain from insults, and acknowledge the other persons feelings (Hansten & Jackson, 2009). The other person is more likely to listen if they are not feeling insulted and preventing the conflict from escalating (Hansten & Jackson, 2009). Also, conflict should be addressed and not ignored to resolve it (Arford, 2005). In this situation the poor communication caused a lack of trust and took the focus away from the clients care. This in turn can cause retaliation among peers and jeopardize quality client care. Both conflicting parties are forgetting that their goal is to provide quality client focus care and collaboration is essential to deliver it. Collaboration helps accomplish better outcomes than one person alone (Arford, 2005). Third Personal Scenario
I had a personal situation where the doctor ordered for a twenty-four hour urine collection. The procedure involves collecting the urine immediately after the client voids and transferring it to a special container kept on ice, to preserve the urine. I informed my nursing assistant, “I started a twenty-four hour urine collection in room 5. Can you please make sure to check frequently for urine in the bedside commode and place it in the collection container.” The nursing assistance replied, “Ok. I will.” The next time I went into the clients room I noticed the ice where the container is kept had melted. I then replaced the ice and told my nursing assistant, “I noticed the ice had melted in room five. Please check on the ice levels hourly.” She replied, “Ok. I will.” It seemed as if every time I checked on the ice levels they had melted. I found myself frustrated and ended replacing the ice myself to get the job done correctly. I realize now that my communication with my assistant was non-assertive.
My assistant was passive in her response. I failed to assess my assistant’s level of understanding of the procedure and instead I lost trust and became frustrated. Communication should be clear, complete and explain why we need a task done a certain way (Hansten & Jackson, 2009). If I would of taken the extra time to explain the reason why we keep specimens on ice perhaps my assistant would of taken the time to do the task. In return I would have been able to attend to others duties had I been able to trust my assistant. Instead my message was incomplete and my reaction demonstrated a lack of trust toward my assistant.
Arford, P. H. (2005, March/April). Nurse-physician communication: An organizational accountability. Nursing Economics, 23(2), 72-77. Retrieved on March 16, 2014, from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.apollolibrary.com/docview/2369346accountid=458 Arnold, E., & Boggs, K. U. (2011). Interpersonal relationships: Professional communication skills for nurses (6th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier/Saunders. Hansten, R. I., & Jackson, M. (2009). Clinical delegation skills: A handbook for professional practice (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Jones and Bartlett Learning.