Communication Skills for Nurses





Like in any other profession, communication skills are vital in nursing practice not just to facilitate them in undertaking their duties, but to also to assist nurses to develop professional relationships with carers, service providers, and colleagues (Duffy et al. 2004; Hiesler et al. 2002). The Senses Framework as proposed by Nolan et al. (2006) is also tied to communication skills in the nursing profession, and more so in enabling them to meet the needs of patients, the staff, and patients' families. Accordingly, the premise of the current essay is to assess the kind of communication skills evident in the video clip on an interview of Andy Murray, the British tennis player who won the 2013 Wimbledon champion. In this case, the essay shall endeavour to explore the communication strategies used in the video clip and how they relate to security and belonging, two of the six senses in The Senses Framework. In addition, the importance of effective communication in relationship centred care shall be explored, along with the contribution of communication skills to professional development, especially in nursing practice.

Communication Strategies USED in the Video Clip

In his interview of Andy Murray, Jonathan Ross deftly makes use of active listening skills to engage Andy Murray in the interview.  In this way, he is able to propel forward the interview discussion with his guest. He does this by leaning forward slightly at times. This makes Andy Murray to feel part of the show thereby enhancing his sense of belonging. It also reassures Murray that he is being listened to keenly, thus enhancing his sense of security. Ross also nods his head in an attempt to show Murray that he is actively listening to the conversation when he is narrating how he was once pranked by Rafael Nadal, a fellow tennis player, while having dinner with his girlfriend in New York (“Andy Murray” On The Jonathan Ross Show Series 5 Ep 9 2013).

Another communication skill that is evident in the video clip is voice management. In this case, when Ross asks Murray the one questions that he is constantly nagged by, Murray replies that it is the question of when he is gonna get married, now that he has won Wimbledon. To this, Ross, asks in a rather low tone, “if not now, when?” Ross tells Murray that getting married the same year he won Wimbledon would be memorable as he would not have a hard time remembering the wedding anniversary. Ross raises his tone, much to the amusement of the audience, “when did you get married, oh yeah, the year you won Wimbledon!” (“Andy Murray” On The Jonathan Ross Show Series 5 Ep 9 2013).

Voice management is not just applicable in accurate pronunciation, but it is also linked to appropriate intonation and pitch. This is crucial in creating and maintaining rapport (McCabe 2006). When Ross lowers and then raises his tone while interviewing Murray, he is able to connect with him and the audience as well. By lowering his tone, Ross reassures Murray that he is actively listening to him and when he raises his tone, it is accompanied by a sense of humour. This gives Murray a sense of belonging. 

The use of non-verbal cues is quite evident in the video clip. Both Jonathan Ross and Andy Murray utilise this communication skill on a number of occasions throughout the interview session. For example, when talking about his trip to the Buckingham Palace to get an OBE, Murray frowns. Also, when Ross says that Prince William is the same age as Murray, Murray frowns, and then indicates that he is 26, whereas William is older than him (“Andy Murray” On The Jonathan Ross Show Series 5 Ep 9 2013). When he talks of the Duchess of Cambridge's handwriting as being unbelievable, Ross retorts with a frown, “bad?” to which Murray replies, unbelievable, she writes like a boy. Nonverbal cues serve the purpose of betraying one's emotions and true feelings. For Developing one's nonverbal skills is vital in enabling one to better interpret and read the emotional and physical signs of the person you are communicating with (Calero 2005).


Relationship-Centred Care


Relationship-centred care is concerned with a multitude of significant relationships available in a long-term care setting, as well as the significance to optimal care brought about by such relationships (Moyle, Parker & Bramble 2014). Nolan et al. (2004) have identified three agencies that play a key role in the care of a patient in long-term care setting-the patient, the staff, and the family. Each of the three members plays a crucial role in care provision. Moreover, quality care largely relies on the kind of relationship that these groups share (Porter 2005). Accordingly, the relationship-centred care acknowledges and upholds the mutual recognition among individuals as well as the opportunities provided via the security in to be had in knowing about each other (Moyle et al. 2014). Moreover, the person-oriented nature of a relationship-centred approach means that care giving revolves around the individuals needs of the individual being dealt with at that moment, as well as the momentary fulfilling of these needs. 


The Six Senses Framework


The Senses Framework was developed as a response to the desire to offer a framework that would enable nurses to undertake their practise in such a way as to enable them fulfil the needs of elderly patients, the staff, and their families. Nolan et al. (2006) opines that there is need for nursing homes to develop an environment that enables the staff and older people to experience the six senses. The scholar argued that staff wellbeing plays a crucial role in their job satisfaction, as well as the quality of life of their residents. The Senses Framework came into being more than two decades ago and deals with the relationships between formal carers and families.

The six senses can be summarized as below:

  • A sense of security – this entails physical as well as psychological security and safety. It involves freedom from harm, as well as the ability to complaint without the fear of being reprimanded.
  • A sense of significance – this is the feeling that you are important, or that you matter, and is perhaps the most crucial one out of the other senses. You need to feel that people recognise and respect you and what you stand for, and that your life is significant. Old age tend to threaten our sense of significance (van Servellen 2008). Since older people usually suffer various losses (e.g. loss of partner, friends, work, health, et cetera). Being at a care home also represented a loss of your 'home. As such, it is crucial to create an environment that will ensure that the elderly experience a sense of significance.
  • A sense of belonging – this involves 'having a place', that you are part of the home, or the larger community (Suchman 2007). In addition, it also entails the ability to uphold current relationships, as well as forming new ones.
  • A sense of continuity – this entails connecting past, current, and future events. This is important in order to recognise and value people's life history and biography and life history. These can then be used in the development and delivery of care in line with their preferences and wishes (Nolan et al. 2006).
  • A sense of purpose – this is about having a direction. It entails the aim and goals that you possess, and the need to make a contribution. This is important in a care home setting because most old patients having nothing to do for the better part of their waking time.
  • A sense of achievement – this entails a feeling of fulfilment, or that you are getting somewhere. It involves the ability to realize your goals and take pride in your achievements.


Importance of Communication skills for nurses in developing professional relationships


 Extensive research studies available in literature reveals that the ability of a clinician to communicate with his/her patient is more important, more than how such a clinician may be knowledgeable (Asnani 2009). Research evidence shows that effective communication skills of a healthcare team have a strong and positive influence on the capability of a patient to adhere to medical recommendations, embrace preventive health behaviours, and the ability for such a patient with a chronic medical condition to self-manage the illness (Heisler et al. 2002; Wanzer et al. 2004). Studies carried out over the last 30 years indicate that the ability of a clinician to listen, empathize, and explain can have a significant impact on the functional and health outcomes, in addition to patient experience of care and satisfaction.

Nonetheless, Piette et al. (2004) estimates that nearly one-third of all adult patients diagnosed with chronic illnesses tend to underuse their prescription medication on account of cost concerns, but nonetheless are not able to communicate effectively with their physician on this issue. Elsewhere, Makaryus and Friedman (2005) report that health professionals do not have sufficient training in regards to providing quality healthcare to patients.

Due to the nature of their work that entails interacting with carers, service users, and colleagues on a daily basis, the possession of effective communication skills by nurses is of vital importance. This will aid nurses in the various areas of interventions including treatment, prevention, education, therapy, and health promotion (Fakhr-Movahedi et al. 2011). Moreover, nurses need to engage with their colleagues and carers on a daily basis, as part of the implementation and exercise of the nursing practice. Therefore, possession of specific interpersonal, verbal and non-verbal communication skills becomes vital (Raya 2005). Effective communication in nursing demands that the nurse has an understanding of the different experiences that patients express (McCabe & Timmins 2006). Effective communication among nurses and service users aids in improving the quality of care that patients get (Institute of Medicine 2003), not to mention that it aids in the establishment of meaningful and genuine relationships between nurses and patients, as well as other health professionals (Lambrini & Papathanasiou 2014).



Effective communication skills are vital in nursing practice. Basing on the findings of the video clip, incorporating the sense framework in any communication gives a sense of security, belonging, purpose, significance, purpose, and continuity to an individual. This is especially crucial in the case of nurses in relationship-centred care. Here, effective communication strategies such as active listening skills, voice management, and use of non-verbal cues are crucial in facilitating effective communication between the nurses, their patients, colleagues, and the patients' families.



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