Communication Opinion Paper
June 20, 2013
Communication Opinion Paper
In health care, effective communication between the health care provider, and the patient is extremely important as the health and well-being of the patient is at stake. Miscommunications and misunderstandings between health care providers and patients could have fatal consequences.
Effective communication involves more than understanding information is conveyed as what someone heard or understands is not always what the speaker meant or said. This is where the adage ‘What you ...view middle of the document...
In communicating there are six elements that must occur. First, as the communicator, when you send message, you must also be aware of the non-verbal responses of the receiver as they receive your message. This usually occurs simultaneously so you can adjust your message ‘on the fly’ if necessary to ensure what you are saying is what the receiver understands. The second component is the conversion (encoding) of your thoughts and feelings into symbols (gestures and words) that the receiver understands (Cheesebro, O'Conner, & Rios, 2010). The next component is decoding. This is where the recipient of the communication message assigns meaning to the symbols to understand the message (Cheesebro, O'Conner, & Rios, 2010). The fourth component is the message itself, the idea, thought, feeling, or opinion that you are attempting to communicate. The fifth component is the channel. This is the medium through the message travels from sender to receiver (Cheesebro, O'Conner, & Rios, 2010). This could be oral as in face-to-face, video communications, or webinar; written, on paper or electronically; or audio, via phone, audio conferencing, or radio. Finally, last component is feedback. This is where the receiver response to the message and indicates how the message is seen, heard, and understood, or how the receiver feels about the message or the sender (Cheesebro, O'Conner, & Rios, 2010). Without the feedback from the recipient, the sender has no idea regarding the effectiveness of their communications.
The basic elements of effective communication are the same, whether in a health care setting or not. However ineffective communications in a health care setting can have serious consequences; so effective communication plays a crucial role in the health care provider decisions regarding how to treat the patient. Of the different contexts that communications occur in, the relational context between the health care provider and the patient becomes important. The effective sharing of personal, often private details between the patient and health care provider is necessary for the health care provider to determine the best course of treatment for the patient. The patient must have a comfortable enough relationship with his or her health care provider to provide information regarding what the problem is, how they are feeling, etc. As information is transmitted and feedback received, the health care provider should receive enough information to recommend a course of treatment for that condition. On the primary care level, this usually works well as the patient and health care provider may have an ongoing relationship, which has developed over many years. However, problems could arise if the patient needs to be treated by a specialist. Referrals to a specialist usually indicate a more serious problem so the patient’s stress and anxiety levels may be higher. There is usually no pre-existing relationship between the specialist and...