The possession of interpersonal skills along with techniques of therapeutic communication is essential for nursing and dealing with patients effectively. This study identifies the critical skills/ techniques implemented in conducting the interview along with a critical assessment following the Plan-Do-Review reflection model.
Interpersonal communication skills/techniques practised
According to Riley (2008), the use of empathetic approach aids in the development of a better patient-nurse relationship. Furthermore, Stein-Parbury (2014) discusses that relating to patients can help in gathering better information from patients as is important for understanding the needs as well as prior medical history of the patients
- Use of open-ended questions (during interview): It is important to have open-ended questions as patients are often unable to formulate competent answers for the nurse (McCabe & Timmins 2006). I personally believe that the implementation of pedagogical skills combined with knowledge is crucial for a nurse. However, the open-ended questions provide a better opportunity for the nurse to derive information from the patient. Regardless, communication with patients experiencing cognitive impairment in patients cannot be undertaken with particular technique. I had planned and focused primarily on this particular aspect of conducting the interview. Firstly, I had planned on preparing a set of questions/ questionnaires which are open-ended and aids in putting the patient at ease and helps in deriving personal and medical information without agitating the patient.
- Focusing: One of the key aspects I realised is that patients may often stray away from the original objective or the accurate answer to the question. Hence, it is important to focus on the layered response to identify the answer within it, which would prove relevant to the question. DeLaune& Ladner (2011) mention that critical thinking is one of the key domains within nursing practice combined with effective communication skills. Furthermore, decision-making skills are required, along with collaborative communication along with emphasis on communication strategies drawing on major theories of communication and psychology is essential (Arnold & Boggs 2019).
- Seeking clarification: Patients often discuss their answers elaborately, most of which are irrelevant to the case or the question. In that particular context seeking clarification is essential to keep the answers short and to-the-point. Sometimes, seeking clarification enables the patient/ client to clarify their requirements (Stein-Parbury 2014). Repeating the statements of the patients may prove effective in this regard. However, working with patients with comprehension challenges may prove difficult in this context.
Reflection model and Critical analysis of skills
Sheldon, Barrett & Ellington (2006) outline the various important strategies and theories of communication, implemented in nursing. I had to prepare for the interview, firstly by starting off with an understanding of the purpose and organisational documentation for the interview, along with the expectations of the patient. Then I moved on to the development of the interview environment, focusing on maintaining client privacy, appropriate timing, whenever is convenient for the patient. Being sensitive to the client’s conditions and comfort is also crucial, which I had considered in advance. The introduction stage was introduced to the patient, by explaining the need for conducting the interview, followed by data collection from the patient. For the data collection procedure, I remained focused and comprehensive. I decided to choose a structured (formal) interview with the patient, using mostly open-ended questions to derive the most of the medical history of the patient.
Figure 1: Reflection cycle
(Source: Hrheadquarters, 2020)
Initially, I start off by asking nice and comforting questions to the patient to put her at ease. I also mentioned a timeframe of 20 minutes for the interview, which is not too long, to focus on the patient's comfort. I set my objectives for conducting the interview and made the client aware of the same. Reassuring statements were used such as “I would like to know of your needs and concerns.” I asked the patient of her family, her grandchildren, her favourite pastime and more. Then I started the regular questions about her medical history, if she felt uncomfortable during her treatment and what were the things which made her feel uncomfortable? Finally, upon reaching the end of the interview, I told her to recap what she thinks that can be done to resolve her problems. I also made a follow-up appointment with her, for the coming week. Therefore, keeping on par with the reflection cycle, I had planned for the interview in advance, and performed in accordance with it. Lastly, reviewing the overall process I realise that the interview required more focus on my part, which can be done through increasing my attention span. Additionally, I believe I need to work on my open-ended questions and add more part questions to the initial ones. Moreover, I had forgotten to repeat the statements to clarify with the client, which needs to be considered for the next interview.
I have identified using open-ended questions, focusing on the statements as well as seeking clarification as the major techniques to be used. I have identified my flaws in conducting the interview and have proposed adequate strategies to overcome the same.
Arnold, E.C. & Boggs, K.U., 2019.Interpersonal Relationships E-Book: Professional Communication Skills for Nurses.Elsevier Health Sciences.
DeLaune, S.C & Ladner, P.K, 2011, Fundamentals of nursing: standards and practice, 4th edn, Cengage, Clifton Park.
Hrheadquarters, 2020. [online] Available at:
McCabe, C & Timmins, F 2006, Communication Skills For Nursing Practice, Palgrave McMillan, Basingstoke.
Riley, J 2008, Communication in Nursing, 6th edn. Mosby, St Louis.
Sheldon, L.K., Barrett, R. & Ellington, L., 2006.Difficult communication in nursing.Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 38(2), pp.141-147.
Stein-Parbury, J 2014, Patient and Person: Interpersonal Skills in Nursing, 5th edn., Churchill Livingstone, Chatswood.