Effective communication between a patient and the healthcare providers is critical in the development of a therapeutic nurse-patient relationship, which is essential to the delivery of quality care. The following report presents the principles of patient-clinician communication, the methods for enhancing interdisciplinary communication, and the ethical principles that can be applied to patient-clinician communication.
There are seven fundamental principles of patient-clinician communication. Mutual respect means that the patient and the nurse should be involved as full decision-making partners and the insights of each party should be respected (Paget et al., 2011). Harmonized goals imply that there should be a mutual agreement and understanding of the care plan. A supportive environment indicates that the services setting and decision-making climate should be secure and nurturing. The next principle is appropriate decision partners, which suggests that the nurses should have the necessary skills and competence to deal with the patient’s situation. Next is the right information, which means that the best available evidence should be thoroughly discussed. Transparency and full disclosure imply that there should be openness between the patient and the nurse regarding all the relevant circumstances, medical history, and preferences. Lastly, continuous learning means that an effective mechanism should be established to facilitate regular feedback on progress.
While interacting with my patients, I apply the principle of mutual respect by allowing them to talk and listening to their concerns. I respect their opinions, and I incorporate them into decisions regarding their care. I also apply the principle of harmonized goals by ensuring that I explain the care options to the patients and get their input so that we can arrive at a care plan which we both understand well and agree on. Furthermore, I apply the principle of a supportive environment by providing my patients with a favorable atmosphere where they can freely make decisions and voice their opinions and concerns without the fear of judgment.
Some of the methods used to enhance interdisciplinary communication include team video conferencing, team huddles, and the situational briefing guide. Team video conferencing ensures that members can hold discussions and coordinate patient care when they cannot all be physically present at a meeting.
Team huddles are quick meetings with a particular purpose to set the day in motion through commentary with the primary personnel (Martin & Ciurzynski, 2015). Team huddles improve interdisciplinary communication as they enable the members to quickly identify issues that are relevant on a particular day, assess changes in clinical workload, and prioritize matters.
Another method is the situational briefing guide or SBAR, which informs the staff about changes in patient status and other issues within the healthcare setting. SBAR stands for Situation, Background, Assessment, and Recommendation (Cornell et al., 2014). SBAR offers a predictable and common structure for communication, and it bridges the differences in communication styles among members of an interdisciplinary team (Martin & Ciurzynski, 2015).
Team huddles apply best to my area of practice. As a nurse, it is necessary to be briefed by my colleagues from a different shift on the patients to enhance continuity of care. Before my shift begins, we usually have team huddles during which I get vital information about my patients from the departing nurse. Team huddles allow me to get the information necessary to continue providing effective care to the patients and enhance their safety.
Several ethical principles can be applied to patient-clinician communication issues. They include justice, beneficence, non-maleficence, and autonomy. The principle of autonomy requires the patient to have the independence of action, thought, and intention when making decisions about healthcare procedures (Kraus & Marco, 2016). Autonomy can be applied in patient-clinician communication where the patient is allowed to voice his/her views regarding care, and the healthcare providers implement such views.
Justice implies that healthcare providers should be fair in the treatment of all the patients (Kraus & Marco, 2016). Healthcare providers practice justice when they engage in open communication about an individual’s health status and treatment, such as the side effects of certain medications.
The principle of beneficence stipulates that healthcare providers should act with the intention of doing good for the patient (Kraus & Marco, 2016). To engage in beneficence, healthcare providers should participate in training and update their knowledge and skills to offer the best care to the patients. For example, clinicians should ensure that they are communicating the correct information to the patients regarding their care to ensure the best outcomes.
Non-maleficence requires that the healthcare providers should not engage in anything to harm the patient (Kraus & Marco, 2016). For example, a healthcare provider should not communicate any misleading information to the patients that can lead to their harm, such as the wrong medication dosage.
Abiding by ethical principles in the communication between patients and healthcare providers ensures better patient outcomes. Team communication enhances patient safety as it provides that all the members are aware of the status of the patient and any changes to the treatment regime. Therefore, any errors in the care of the patient are avoided, which fosters safety.
Effective patient-clinician communication is essential to patient safety, and it involves applying communication principles. Interdisciplinary communication can be enhanced through video conferencing, team huddles, and SBAR. Ethical principles such as justice, beneficence, non-maleficence, and autonomy can be applied to patient-clinician communication.