Effective Communication in Health Care Discussion

One episode of ineffective communication that happens frequently on the cardiothoracic intensive care unit is between therapies. Out patients frequently need physical and occupational therapies following cardiac surgery. One particular problem is the daily schedule of therapists, it is extremely difficult to figure out which therapists are seeing which patient per day, so it is difficult to know when each patient will be seen. This adds stress to the nursing staff trying to manage all the requirements for each patient. One recent situation involved a patient needing physical and occupational therapies to screen him before discharge, he was 95 and anticipated being discharged home. Occupational therapy came to see the patient during “rest time”, between 1400-1600, a hospital wide rest period. This patient was resting in bed after walking and showering, too tired to work with the therapist. This led the therapist to see other patients, and charting “refused” under his participation. If he had been visited for therapies earlier in the day, he would have been cleared for discharge that day, instead of being hospitalized for an additional night. I addressed this concern with the occupational therapist, stating the patient needed to be screened that day for discharge planning. She stated that she was approaching the end of her shift and she would not be seeing him that day, and she would try the following day, refusing to schedule a specific time. The initial barrier that added to this situation was the lack of communication regarding therapy schedules, and the inability of the nursing staff to see which patients were being seen by which therapists. Attitudes of both parties involved also contributed to the negative communication process. I was frustrated and had an abrasive approach to the situation, which was not effective. This led the occupational therapist to be defensive, further adding to negative situation.

Dima, Teodorescu, and Gifu (2014), suggest parties share a communication commonality, allowing the receiver to understand the sender’s message. Further reiterated by the research by Manojlovich et al. (2015), there is a need for “common ground and compatible communication patterns that meet the needs of both groups”. This research discusses communication between nurses and doctors, but does relate to my problem that multiple methods of communication and different techniques are needed to foster an appropriate situation for effective communication. The article was an interesting read, I appreciated reading about various problems from different perspectives, this is helpful if bringing awareness to the different perceptions of the people involved. Considering the other person’s perspective would be helpful for my situation, if I knew, or considered what the occupational therapist did that day, I would probably have had a different reaction to the situation.


Gifu, D., Dima, I. C., & Teodorescu, M. (2014). New communication approaches vs. traditional

communication. International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences, (20), 46–55

Marquis, B. L., & Huston, C. J. (2017). Leadership roles and management functions in nursing: Theory and application (9th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.

Manojlovich, M., Harrod, M., Holtz, B., Hofer, T., Kuhn, L., & Krein, S. L. (2015). The Use of

multiple qualitative methods to characterize communication events between

physicians and nurses. Health communication, 30(1), 61–69

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