Communication is fundamental for good mental health and healthy relationships in the health care workplace. The following scenarios are reviewed for styles of communication with the benefits or weaknesses of each. There is abundant value in clear and productive workplace communication. The types of communication styles in the example related to Rashad were aggressive and passive communication. Evidence of aggression shown as the Registered Nurse communicated to the nurse aide that included a raised tone of voice and negative comments, show evidence of superiority and attaches blame to the individual.
This type of communication may induce feelings of negativity and may often cause the individual to feel the need to retaliate with anger in return. By communicating in a passive manner ideas may not be shared because a person may feel belittled and humiliated, thus provoking an unwillingness to bring forward positive suggestions to the task at hand. Passive behavior as Rashad showed with his “sitting quietly and not responding” (Hansten & Jackson, p. 283 2009) is nonproductive as it is an act to avoid the situation presented.
The individual with the passive behavior may feel fear of prosecution, but act out in anger toward the person at a later date. The aggressor will alienate an individual and blame or attack others. These individuals will remain in a position of powerlessness unless the behavior changes. The scenario involving Pamela, a school nurse was evidence of nonassertive communication. Every time a person acts in a passive manner, they lose self-respect. Pam is doing the labor herself which may be not proper use of her time.
Nor is it providing the proper communication to others about what is in needs to be completed. Communicating in a clear and concise method about what is required, an individual having little experience may be empowered by new knowledge and volunteer for new duties at a later time. This continued behavior of avoidance can lead to an individual unable to perform all duties as assigned. Productivity may go down and costs will go up due to an individual taking on too much of the task at hand.
Not being able to educate and delegate in a productive manner will only create possible work burnout and increasing negative feelings between coworkers. Reasoning for passive or nonassertive communication would include low self-esteem, anxiety related issues, and possible dread of confrontations. Pamela “was concerned about the accuracy of the work” (Hansten & Jackson, p. 283 2009). Pamela should have taken the time to research the accuracy and possibly discuss the results with the individuals performing the test to review the data with them.
There may have been a valid reason for the results. By not using proper investigation and communication techniques, she is creating more work for herself and less confidence in her coworkers. Similar behavior may lead to decreased confidence from the patient related to the test repeated. Trust from the patient is imperative to a heath care relationship. The last scenario presented with Mabel, the surgical technician, is very easily a representative of aggressive communication. This style of communication the individuals may be verbally or physically abusive to others during the process.
This impact of this pattern of behavior would include alienating them from others and generating fear or hatred from peers. The idea of being entitled to special treatment and threatening comments to illicit getting their way can undermine authority and good decision-making processes. The aggressive communicator may feel incapable of dealing with the object of their resentments and redirect that anger by secretly sabotages others. This could be seed by behaviors of muttering foul words to themselves or using sarcasm while denying that there is even a problem occurring.
An example of assertive communication would include a situation in which I needed to inform a group of relief charge nurses that were required to attend a clinical supervisor meeting on their normal scheduled day off. My personal experience as a nurse manager of a medical surgical unit consists of numerous forms of positive and negative communications. My goal to ensure proper communication includes delegation and a clear understanding of each individual’s job skill before communication occurs. Knowing the audience is imperative.
Nursing students doing clinical rotation on my unit are at various stages of learning. Previously I would assign them a scavenger hunt. A list of items used every day needed to be located and marked down with different colors. Years ago I would ask the students complete with one sentence. Chaos ensued on the floor, including loud interactions, disruptive question asking of staff, and many individuals roaming the unit looking for the same item. They would often all come back with 21 silver tip catheters. It was hilarious yet frustrating.
Progress was not made with this disorganized form of communicating and poor delegating. After recognizing this I currently divide the list into even sections. After dividing the class into even numbered groups and providing them an assigned color, one portion of the list was assigned to each group. Groups were sent out on their hunt, one group at a time. While one group was on the hunt, those remaining discussed strategies on delegating from the next lists. Each group found items more rapidly than previous groups.
By knowing my audience, communicating clearly with a positive manner, and explaining the required goal, I consider this to be form of assertive communication style. The goal reached and individuals were allowed to contribute to make the solution to the problem successful. Communication styles can make or break a health care environment. Identifying styles and how to manage them is required to ensure correct nursing care delivery. Knowing the benefits of proper communication, patient safety will always be ensured.
Courtney from Study Moose
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