Therapeutic Communication Essay Example

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Therapeutic Communication

Therapeutic Communication

Therapeutic Communication

Source: (HETI, 2013)

Therapeutic communication can be defined as a process whereby nurses helps a patient to better by using verbal or nonverbal communication. The use of these communication strategies encourages patients to express freely their feelings and ideas demonstrating respect and acceptance. Research indicates that good interpersonal communication between nurse and patient helps improve healthcare and helps the patient to adapt to disease and adhere to intervention (Berman et al., 2015). Figure.1 shows a picture of a confused patient, who probably does not understand where he is or what is going on. In this case, a nurse should use therapeutic communication techniques such as presenting reality to a patient calmly and quietly expressing her facts or perception in a particular situation. The aim here is to offer an alternate line of an idea to the patient for consideration, rather than convince the patient is wrong. When a patient is confused, the nurse must be more directives and provide a structure that enhances the nurse-patient relationship. Embracing a patient’s need by portraying interest, empathy, helps a nurse to maintain healing interaction and achieve clinical outcomes.

Barriers to Therapeutic Communication and Impacts to Patient Safety

Weaver (2010) argued that to accomplish sound interpersonal communication; a nurse should be able to identify patient’s physical or psychological barriers. There may arise conflicting commitments and values affecting communication, resulting in a failure to accomplish nurse-patient relationship. For instance, giving advice to the patient on what they should act as a way of imposing her opinions or decisions. A nurse should rather assist the patient to explore all the available solutions so that the patient can arrive at his conclusions. Even in situations where the patients clearly indicate that he want advice, a nurse should be very cautious on the information she give and ensure that she only information that will offer a better basis for decision making. Giving a patient solution may be perceived that the nurse assumes that she understand what is best for the patient, and she feel that the issue can be easily solved.

However, if the patient does accept the results, he may hate the nurse for the wrong advice, the same case, if he accepts; he will be dependent on the nurse advice. Such situation can disrupt the communication process. The best strategy for the nurse is to assist the patient to think through and chose a solution for his problem. In this way, a patient will facilitate in the decision-making process. A nurse should provide the necessary information and help the patient examine the problem and help to identify solutions and possible outcomes.

Actions to ensure Patient Safety

Nurses’ practice of therapeutic communication helps in ensuring patient safety and quality care by forming stress and anxiety collaborative relationships. Nurse use therapeutic communication to establish the trust to create a healing process between them and the patient. As a result, the patient can communicate or share his or her feelings who listen carefully to the patients’ need which is useful in reducing preoperative and postoperative patient anxiety. In other words, nurses’ interpersonal communication is a useful strategy to more effective in nursing care for patients with anxiety.

A nurse is always very close to the patients, and for such reasons, therapeutic communication is necessary, particularly when it comes to a patient with pain such as burn-related pains. Sitting near the patients in an open posture sends a message of interest and attentiveness to the patient and the higher possibility of adherence and timely response to pain management. Sound interpersonal skills are paramount to understand patient’s pain and relief. A nurse listens attentively and asks questions to understand patient’s pain. Pain management asserts the patients satisfaction, reduces hospital stay and decreases mortality (Harms, 2007). This stage can only be reached by a nurse by maintaining good interpersonal communication with the patient.


Berman, A., Snyder, S., Levett-Jones, T., Dwyer, T., Hales, M., Harvey, N., Stanley, D.(2015). Kozier and Erb’s fundamentals of nursing. (3rd ed.). Sydney, Australia: Pearson.

Harms, L. (2007). Working with People: Communication Skills for Reflective Practice. South Melbourne, Victoria: Oxford University Press.

HETI. (2013). The Confused Patient: Dementia or Delirium? Retrieved on

Weaver, D. (2010). Communication and language needs. Nursing & Residential Care, 12(2), 60-63.