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Frameworks for developing good communication skills
Alice Wood
HBD1202 Communication and Dermal Science
Victoria University
Word Count: 664
In this, the practical implementation of frameworks for developing good
communication skills will be explored within a healthcare context. The elements of
good patient-clinician communication will be broken down to its fundamentals and
explored following the Fundamentals of Care Framework (Kitson et al 2013). This
framework will be analysed alongside the definition for patient centred care to
explore how it achieves and affirms this level of care through the illustrated
cornerstones of good communication.
Communication in its basic terms is the study of transfer of meaning (Eunson, 2015)
in the context of a healthcare setting, the goal of utilising communication is to
ultimately build, support and maintain patient centred care, which is fundamental to
the patients’ health and wellbeing. Patient centred care is defined as ‘care that is
respectful of, and responsive to, individual patient preferences, needs and values,
and ensuring that patient values guide all clinical decisions’ (Hurtado et al 2001).
Adhering to this requires an elaborate set of intrapersonal and interpersonal skills,
that encompass verbal and nonverbal communication, to overcome the barriers in
the patient-clinician communication (PCC). These barriers can limit the conveyance
of patient preferences and needs, resulting in poor health outcomes (Pérez-Stable &
El-Toukhy, 2018), and or low patient satisfaction. In the clinical setting it is
particularly difficult as the provider must detect and interpret patients’ feelings and
motivations through their verbal and nonverbal ques in how they affirm or contradict
each other and use this for diagnostic purposes (Blanch-Hartigan et al., 2018).
From this it can be ascertained that without skilled communication in healthcare
settings treatments could not be formulated, informed consent could not be attained,
and adverse patient health outcomes would occur. Under the duress of the
expectation of facilitating good health outcomes in the face of the elaborate and
subjective forms of communication, its can be difficult for practitioners to build patient
clinician communication that allows patient centred care. In efforts to help achieve
patient centred care, healthcare practices and organisations can implement a
framework of communication that provides clear guidelines on what basic
standards/elements of communication need to be met, to help build, achieve, and
improve the skills required to enhance PCC and patient centred care, as they are
positively correlated.
In The Fundamentals of Care Framework (Kitson et al 2013) these elements of
communication are isolated in a way that simplifies the implementation and
development of communication skills. The skills/elements are; focusing, knowing,
trusting, anticipating, and evaluating. Focus is illustrated to be important in the
surveillance, detection and anticipation of changes in the patients’ state, making it
essential in providing good care. Know; being able to understand all the
requirements and expectations of the patient to not only deliver care but also
maintain a respectful relationship. Trust; demonstrate reliability in the relationship to
enable trust, as it opens the avenues for patient empowerment and compliance.
Anticipation; not to be confused with assumptions that override the patients position
in decision making, but based on regular communication with the patient that puts
them at the centre of planning for future actions. Evaluating; both the clinician and
the patient should continuously be reviewing the progress of the treatment and/or
interaction, providing feedback to each other how things are going, thus opening
channels for negotiation that can tailor care (Kitson et al., 2013). These concepts
help cut through the confusion easily elicited by the numerous modes of
communication and their individual intricacies, and recentre attention on the
cornerstones of what comprise good patient clinician communication. Through the
implementing of these communication skills and building of a PCC, clinicians can
empower their patient’s involvement in their own health (Feo et al., 2017) and thus
improve patient outcomes in pain management, disease management, and recovery
(Agner & Braun, 2018).
Through the evidence provided, illustrating the negative effects of poor
communication, in negative health outcomes, and the positive effects of good
communication, it can be seen that frameworks such as the one explored can help
develop communication skills and thus improve patient outcomes.
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