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The first assignment set out by the University is based on how we communicate in different nursing areas at different levels. Part of the research task involved researching communication and working together in a group and commenting on articles researched by my peers.
The article I chose to analyse during this process is “Nurse Handover: Patient and Staff Experiences” (Bruton et al 2016). The article is related to different types of handovers in between medical professionals. The nurse’s handover in between shifts is an act of transferring clinical responsibility alongside medical information to oncoming staff. While reading the article I learnt that patients preferred to be kept up to date about their treatment (Lu et al 2014). According to the qualitative study, interviews revealed that patients found this as an opportunity to be introduced to their nurses, they feel secure to know what is happening and they get a chance to learn about themselves (Bruton et al 2016). The article made me aware that bedside handover can sometimes make the patients feel uncomfortable as their information is being shared and discussed openly in front of others. The article has helped me remember that at times of handover it should be done confidentially to avoid patient discomfort and the leak of sensitive information.
An article that was posted by a peer member was “Palliative Care Communication in Oncology Nursing” (Goldsmith et al 2012). It was about how to care for palliative patients and how to support their family according to the eight domains of quality of palliative care in the National Consensus Project (Colby et al 2001). While reading the article I have understood how oncology nurses highly value communication within the palliative care environment. They are empathic and supportive towards patients who are receiving long term palliative care. The article has helped me identify the way to communicate with patients and their families and how to provide moral support and comfort them in their time of distress. The article also showed how palliative nurses take time to listen to patients attentively with a positive attitude to fulfil their holistic needs.
Another article I read from the web-based discussion group is “Management of pain in cardiac ICU patients: Have we improved over time?” (Gelinas 2007) I found the article informative and well presented. While reading the article I discovered that after open heart surgery patients are sent to the ICU for recovery. Due to this major operation patient’s ability to communicate are limited. As the text suggests “Patients communicated the presence of pain by signals with their eyes, facial expressions or hand motions” (Gelinas 2007).
The type of communication used in my area of working is different as patients are less acute and they can easily inform the nurse if they are in pain. According to Carr (1990) patients did not let medical staff know they were in pain unless prompted, this is still the case in the 21st century (Gelinas 2007). As I work on a cardiac ward where I prepare patients for heart surgery, the article educated me in ensuring I inform patients to ask for painkillers after surgery.
The final article posted by a member of the group was “Minimising breast cancer related lymphedema” (Acebedo 2014). It was an interesting article that thoroughly explained the causes and treatments for lymphedema, however while reading the article I found it extremely difficult to find the link between communication and the article. Regardless of this, the article helped to broaden my knowledge that lymphedema is caused by radiation or chemotherapy that previously treated breast cancer (Smoot et al 2010). I also discovered that the complete decongestive therapy is considered as the gold standard in treating breast cancer (Chang and Cormier 2013).
Part of this task involved assessing and leaving feedback on the articles chosen by each of the peer members. According to Shclisselberg and Mouscou (2011) this process enabled them to improve academically. The comments posted about the article by group members helped me understand other perspectives, it also helped me see important points that I had not noticed when reading the articles myself. Commenting on others articles helped me to be more open with my viewpoints and helped me feel more open to sharing my ideas. Other members also shared their comments on how effective and genuine the article is and what theory is not reliable in practice. The exercise has allowed me to be more open to new ideas and to accept criticism, I might find something positive whereas a peer member can justify how it can be negative. A challenge I encountered was not all members engaged in analysing and commenting in the group. An example of what I learned through peer discussion is that when I analysed my chosen article I failed to notice that the research was only done in a single trust which affected the validity of the research. A group member then pointed out that the weakness of the article was that the data had not been collected from a wide range of sources (Rosewell 2017).
My learning and appreciation for communication within my healthcare setting has developed greatly since I have engaged in this task. I have benefitted from the understanding of others and I can look for the possibility to bring techniques used within the articles and suggested by others into my own area of practice. An example of this would be, supporting relatives who are about to lose a family member. I am always stressed about the way I approach them, but essential points and guidelines in the “Palliative Care Communication in Oncology Nursing” (Goldsmith et al 2012) such as comforting patients and having an empathic approach has helped make me feel more confident to deal with those circumstances. My participation in this activity has developed my learning as I have learnt how to independently work with others without the regular supervision of a teacher (Christians and Bell 2010). This has enabled me to positively transfer strategies and to develop critical thinking skills which can help in future peer discussions.
To conclude, the task set allowed me to explore different areas of communication within the nursing environment. This was done by reading and analysing different articles and providing feedback to my peer members. The task also helped broaden my knowledge on how to communicate within a peer group and share ideas. The articles researched were extremely informative and have helped me expand my knowledge about other health issues, communication barriers and how to tackle them. It also helped me gain an insight on how I can develop my communication within my healthcare setting.
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