Communication is an essential part of every workplace, including a healthcare facility (Fry, 1994). This method of expressing an idea to another person influences the success of healthcare delivery and thus it is important for healthcare personnel to understand the different forms of communication (Hewitt, 1981a, 1981b). It is thus important to understand that there are two forms of communication. Verbal communication. This form of communication is what individuals generally rely on for conveying a message to another individual. This mode of expression uses words which may be spoken or written in order for another individual to receive.
The message carried out through verbal communication is easy to understand and are actually straightforward. In the field of healthcare, it is a common occurrence that medical jargon is employed between healthcare personnel and thus this form of communication is still considered verbal. On the other hand, simpler words are often used when dealing with patients in the hospital (Krmidam, 1989). These simple words are chosen to be used with patients because these are quickly understood by the patients and thus caring for them will be easier if they understand what is being explained to them (Murphy, 1982; Gordon et al.
, 2009; Haskard et al. , 2009). It is also important to know that verbal communication can also be quite complex when one individual speaks with abstract words, mostly because they chose to do so. The vocabularies may sound highly articulate yet these words can have the same meaning when used with simple words. The choice of words by an individual is also influenced by his age, educational attainment and maturity, wherein younger individuals tend to employ simple words while those more mature individuals use more difficult words when they communicate with other people.
It should be understood that instead of being confused by the words of a speaker, it is more important to understand what he is trying to convey. Non-verbal communication. This form of communication does not involve the use of words but are actually conveyed through voluntary or involuntary signals that may come from one individual and is perceived or received by another person. The most common example of non-verbal communication is body language, which pertains to the actions and movements that an individual shows while speaking or not speaking at all.
This is also considered as a form of one-way communication because certain messages are transmitted to another person through gestures, facial expressions and other physical attributes (Rask et al. , 2008). Examples of non-verbal communication include facial expressions such as smiling, smirking and glaring (Wujcik, 2004). These facial expressions can impart either a positive or negative message towards a patient and most of the time, the individual showing this non-verbal form of communication is not aware that he is doing this. The manner of dressing also imparts a message to another person.
Thus, a person wearing a suit conveys a message of honor, while a person wearing simple overall imparts a message that he is a worker. Hair also symbolizes certain messages, including how the hair is arranged and the color. A well-kept hairdo will thus convey that an individual is in control of himself, while dishevel hair may mean that the individual is under stress and possibly leads a confusing and difficult life. There are also other non-verbal messages that are imparted by jewelry. A wedding ring extends the message that an individual is married, while a person wearing a watch may mean that he is aware that time is precious.
Cosmetics can also convey a message, wherein its overt use is strongly associated with prostitutes, while simple women wear minimal cosmetics or none at all. Both verbal and non-verbal forms of communication influence an interaction between individuals (LeFebvre, 2008). It is thus important to be able to identify and to distinguish these forms, in order to fully understand an individual and ultimately result in a productive relationship.
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Krmidam, M. O. (1989). Communication with patients. Kenya Nursing Journal, 17, 11. LeFebvre, K. B. (2008). Strengthen your verbal and nonverbal communication. ONS Connections, 23, 21. Murphy, D. C. (1982). Communication: The key to improved patient understanding. NITA, 5, 370-372. Rask, M. , Brunt, D. and Fridlund, B. (2008). Validation of the verbal and social interaction questionnaire: Nurses’ focus in the nurse-patient relationship in forensic nursing care. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 15, 710-716. Wujcik, D. (2004). Do our nonverbal messages inhibit patient care? ONS News, 19, 2.
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