Communicationwithin a Hospital Setting
Communicationin Hospital Setting
Communicationis an important tool that is used by health care professionals tobring forth collaboration among individuals to deliver health careservice to patients. Communication plays a primary role in buildingrelation and in socialization within the hospital setting. In thehealth care community, communication can be described as a process ofexchanging and sharing information through use of a set standardrules established to guide the conduct and relationship amonghealthcare specialists, and with their patients. It is worth notingthat these set of rules within the hospital setting varies with theprevailing circumstance. For example, transfer of information can bebroken up by differences between physician’s perspective andsituational pressure. Human communication within a hospital settingis a subset of communication. It can be described as the interactionbetween individuals through the utilization of symbolic language. Itcan be continuing discussions about a patient’s health concern,attitude, conduct or diagnosis. It mirrors how healthcareprofessionals strive to maintain health and approach medical relatedissues. Communication between medical professionals can be personalor impersonal, verbal or nonverbal, written or oral and relationshipor issue oriented. Within a healthcare setting, effectivecommunication entails arriving at a shared understanding of the stateof affairs and in some cases a shared path of action. This calls fora wide range of common communication skills, from listening toconcession, to being able to use generic communication skills indifferent circumstances and contexts. To be in a position tocommunicate effectively all healthcare professionals and supportstaff should have access to adequate information at the right time.This will enable them to perform their duties appropriately towardsthe realization of set goal and objectives. In a healthcare setting,sustainable improvements towards effective communication entailharmonizing efforts across three key levels personal level, the teamlevel and organization level.
Ina hospital setting interpersonal communication between a patient anda medical practitioner is one of the most important elements forimproving patient’s satisfaction, conformity and health results.Clients who understand the nature of their ailments and treatment,and who think that a health professional is concerned about theirwelfare, show greater fulfillment with care offered and are likely toconform to the treatment regime. Effective communication between thehealthcare provider and patient does not occur naturally. A healthprofessional must make a deliberate effort to create a favorableatmosphere where the patient feels free and open to express theiropinion and give their feedback. Even in cases when the health careprovider speaks the same language or geographical location with thepatient, differences in cultural background, education and social andeconomic factors may inhibit communication. Additionally, thepatient’s health expectation may be different from that of thehealth care provider. Effective interpersonal communication enablesthe client to disclose material information about their health statusand other conditions that may be important in identifyingintervention. It also enables the health care provide to carry outcounseling, healthcare education and give correct diagnoses.Effective interpersonal communication yield benefits not only to thepatient and physician but also to the whole health system. It becomesmuch easier to create the apt platform to address the needs of thepatients and health professional. It enables management to create apathway that closely links the healthcare professional and patients,and this improves patient satisfaction and provides a favorableenvironment through which health providers can practice healthcare(Coiera, 2006).
Verbalcommunication encompasses both written and spoken words individualsuse to transmit and express idea. In a hospital setting, the choiceof words that a health care professional and patients usesignificantly influences how well they will relate with each other.The health terminologies that health professional use to describesymptom and intervention measures enables them to communicatesuccinctly with their fellow professional in the health careindustry. Nonetheless, the use of medical jargons to communication tothe patient may be inappropriate and may lead to misunderstanding andconfusion.
Onthe other hand, health professional may also find it difficult tocommunicate with patients who use particular accents, slang, anddialects that may be new to them. Patients may not have gone throughmedical training and as such may describe ailments and other healthproblems in a language that a health provider finds difficult tocomprehend. In some cases, patient may withhold crucial informationthat may help a healthcare provider in diagnoses and treatmentprocess. Therefore, it is of paramount important that a healthprofessional is aware of all these elements that may hinder effectiveverbal communication to be in a position to address the need of theirpatients (Coiera, 2006).
Ina hospital setting, verbal communication expresses only part of theinformation that requires to be conveyed to patients. Nonverbalcommunication entails use of gestures, facial expression, attitudeand tone to convey messages to the patient. Simple behavioral aspectsuch as smiling, listening attentively, and avoiding the diversionwhen communicating with patients, may enhance interaction between ahealthcare providers and patients. Cultural differences may limit theeffectiveness of non-verbal communication but when used appropriatelyit can significantly compliment verbal communication. In a hospitalsetting, all form of non-verbal communication from a physician isconsidered to convey a certain message by the patients. Simplegestures by medical professional such as warm greetings and sittingat the same place with a patient do not require a lot of efforts butmay have a great impact on verbal communication. As aforementionednon-verbal communication can be misconstrued especially when thephysician and a patient come from different cultural background. Forexample, in some cultures it is in appropriate to have physicalcontact with a female. Also, direct eye contact may be a sign thatshow that a health provider is attentive to the patient but in someplaces such non-verbal gestures may be considered aggressiveespecially if the patient is a female (Coiera, 2006).
Effectivecommunication within a hospital setting is encountered by numerouschallenges that emanate from the interrelated dynamics of a hospital.Health care is multifarious and unpredictable, with healthcareprovider from different disciplines involved in offering care atdifferent times of the day. They are also dispersed over differentdepartment and location within a hospital framework generatingspatial gaps which offer limited time and opportunities for regularcommunication and interaction. Communication between healthcareprofessionals is also hindered by the fact that each personal has aunique disciplinary view about various aspects regarding the welfareof a patient. For example, each healthcare provider is predisposed toprioritize the actions that will provide them with a chance tooperate independently. Additionally, health care institutions have ahierarchical organizational structure that hampers free flow ofinformation. Physicians wiled too much power over other health careproviders and this builds a culture of reticence and restraint incommunication. Hierarchical structure hampers communication in ahospital setting by inhibiting open communication along thehierarchical ladder.
Asmentioned above health care professional undergo different trainingand teaching where they are taught diverse styles of communication,patterns and methods of approaching different health challenges. Thiscompounds communication within a hospital setting especially when ahealth problem cuts across different departments. Such a problem maycall for team work and group discussion to identify an amicablesolution. Since most health care professional are exposed to academiccurricula that over emphasis on the importance of technicalexpertise, disregarding group work and team communication it becomesextremely difficult to create a team that is effective (Coiera,2006).
Communicationand Team Collaboration
Communicationrefers to the interchange of ideas, information and thoughts throughsigns, speech and writing. Though the most salient form ofcommunication is verbal, 93% of communication in a hospital settingis affected by non verbal cues. Words that are spoken hold vitalsubstance and their meaning is determined by the style of delivery.In a hospital setting style o delivery incorporate important aspectssuch as the tone, the look of the speaker, the manner in which theyaddress their listeners and the way that a speaker stands.Nevertheless, crucial information is often conveyed through textmessages, e-mails and written notes.
Effectivecollaboration in a healthcare setting requires effectivecommunication between physicians, nurses and other medicalpractitioners. This group of professionals must share responsibilityand work together to solve various health problems on daily basis.Therefore, it is of great importance that information and ideas areexchanged freely without barriers that might hinder performance.Effective team work is pegged on the efficiency of communicationamong different members constituting the group. There must berespect, trust and partnership to create a functional team that willsteer the organization towards realization of set goals andobjectives. Teamwork in health is important due to theinterdisciplinary link of various activities carried out by differenthealthcare professionals. In a hospital setting an interdisciplinarymodel which combines a joint effort from different disciplines forthe sake of the patients` wellbeing is preferred to themultidisciplinary model where every member in the group isresponsible only for the performance related to his discipline anddevise distinct goals for the clients health care plan. In ainterdisciplinary approach communication is the glue that holds theteam together. A care plan incorporates numerous evaluations andtreatment procedures aimed at addressing the need of the client. Insuch a model, a client finds it much easier to communicate with aunified team than in the alternative approach where such cohesion isabsent, and there are many healthcare professionals who do not knowwhat their colleagues are doing to manage the patient.
Equallyimportantly, developing teamwork environment may have challenges toovercome such as lack of trust or confidence in decisions made byother hospital personnel, more time is spent, supposed loss ofindependent or autonomy, territorialism, colliding perceptions, andlack of awareness of the skills, knowledge, and education ofcolleagues from other health professions and disciplines. Most ofthese challenges may be overwhelmed only with mutual feelings oftrust and respect, as well as open-minded attitude of the healthworkers and professionals, nevertheless. Therefore, health workersare the most significant factors of improving communication andteamwork, consequently improving job satisfaction and clinicaleffectiveness (Coiera, 2006).
Collaboration,teamwork, and communication may be implicated in the clinicalsettings. For example, relational, organizational, and socialstructures may render communication ineffectiveness which has beenimplicated to the undesirable clinical outcomes and events. A studyshows that patient care priorities greatly differ among the personnelof the health care team and verbal communication among them areinconsistent. Another example indicates that considerable number ofpatients hospitalized in most of the United States hospitalizedreported problems of the hospital system, where the staffs providedconflicting information and confusion of which physician should be incharge of their care. Regrettably, most of the health care personnelare accustomed to poor teamwork and communication, due to lowexpectation culture that have emerged in most of the health careenvironment. In this culture, health care personnel anticipatesincomplete and faulty flow of information, which have resulted intoerrors where even the painstaking professionals have a tendency ofignoring clinical discrepancies and impending red flags. All thesechallenges emanate from poor collaboration and communication, as wellas ineffective teamwork. It has been clear that poor communicationcause tragic consequences. However, effective communication causepositive results in hospital setting organization such as improvedsafety, improved information exchange, improved employee morale,increased patient satisfaction, and decreased delays. Additionally,implementing coordination to enhance team communication improvesquality.
ReferenceCoiera,E.(2006). Communication System in Healthcare. The Clinical BiochemistReviews.US National Library of Medicine.Retrieved from:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NB K2637/