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Healthcare Communications
Shannon Cofield, RDH
Essential Question
can communication
affect patient care?
What is Communication?
is the
exchange of information,
thoughts, ideas, and feelings
Communication can occur:
– spoken words or
written words
Nonverbally – facial
expressions, body language
and touch
Communication Process
– an individual who
creates a message to convey
 Message – the actual
information, thoughts or ideas
 Receiver – the person who
receives the message from the
 Sender
helps to determine
if you have effectively
Feedback occurs when the
receiver responds to the
Overcoming factors that
interfere with communication
The message must be clear.
 People who are not in the healthcare field
may not understand medical terminology. Be
sure to use terms they are familiar with.
 A small child may not understand the word
urine and you may have to use a word on
their level such as pee.
Overcoming factors that interfere
with communication (cont.)
Make sure you use proper terminology and
pronunciation and the use of good grammar.
 Avoid using meaningless words or phrases.
Ex. You know, like, all that stuff, um…
 Be sure to use the proper rate or speed
when delivering a message.
 Speak in a moderate tone, not too softly or
loudly. Different emphases in the tone can
change the meaning of the statement. Ex. I
love my job
Factors that interfere with
communication (cont.)
Avoid distractions when communicating. Ex.
answering a phone, talking to another
person, or playing with the television or radio.
 Communication should take place in a
comfortable environment. Not, for example,
outside in the snow where the conversation
may be cut short due to the cold, or in
extreme heat, or under water.
Listening means paying attention and making
the effort to hear and understand what the
other person is saying.
 Show interest in what is being said.
 Be alert and maintain eye contact with the
 Avoid interrupting the speaker.
 Avoid thinking about how you are going to
Listening (cont.)
Try to eliminate your own prejudices and see the
other person’s point of view.
Eliminate distractions by moving to a quiet area.
Reflect statements back to the speaker so they
know you are hearing what they say.
Ask questions if you do not understand what is
being said.
Keep your temper under control and maintain a
positive attitude.
Nonverbal Communication
Nonverbal communication involves the use
of facial expressions, body language,
gestures, eye contact and touch to convey
messages or ideas.
Barriers to Communication
A communication barrier is something that
gets in the way of clear communications.
 Common barriers are physical disabilities,
psychological attitudes, prejudice, and
cultural differences.
Deafness or hearing loss
Use body language gestures and signs. Face
the person to allow for lip reading. Use short
sentences. Write messages if necessary and
make sure any hearing aids have good
batteries and are inserted correctly.
Blindness or impaired vision
People who are blind or visually impaired
may be able to hear what is being said but
they will not be able to see body language,
gestures or facial expressions. Be sure to
announce your presence and describe
events going on around. Explain sounds or
noises and use touch if appropriate.
Aphasia or Speech
They may know what they want to say but
may have difficulty saying it.
 Let them talk.
 Encourage them to take their time.
 Ask questions requiring short answers.
 Speak slowly and clearly and repeat their
messages to be sure they are correct.
 Encourage use of gestures or signs.
 Provide them with writing material.
Psychological Barriers
Psychological barriers to communication are
often caused by prejudice (prejudging),
attitudes and stereotypes.
Cultural Differences
Cultures consist of values, beliefs, attitudes
and customs shared by a group of people.
 They may include their own cultural remedies
in their health treatment plan.
 In some countries, eye to eye contact is not
 In some countries, it is inappropriate to touch
someone's head, or even a simple hand
shake can show a lack of respect.
Cultural Differences (cont.)
Some foods may not be accepted in another
 You may need to contact a translator if there
is a language barrier.