AuthorBARTZ, CLAUDIA CAROL.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe purpose of this study was to explore and describe nurse-patient communication during critical illness events. The theoretical structure of the study was drawn from communication, sociolinguistic, and nursing theory. Data were collected in a 374-bed private hospital in the Southwest. The sample consisted of six registered nurses and nine patients experiencing cardiac surgery. Nine observed and audiotaped nurse-patient interactions, and fourteen audiotaped partcipant interviews provided the data base for analysis. Content analysis was used to organize the data. Findings were presented in terms of language, paralanguage, and nonverbal expression, and in terms of content, process, and product of nurse-patient communication. Participants used biomedical-technical language and casual-everyday language during the interactions. Nurses talked about what patients would experience while patients talked about themselves as a way of establishing their credibility within the biomedical setting. Nurses viewed nurse-patient communication as variable depending on the patients' needs and responses. Patients viewed nurse-patient communication as straightforward, not requiring adjustment for the needs of the participants. Products of communication for patients involved increased knowledge, reassurance, and increased confidence. Products of communication for nurses involved relieving the patients' anxieties, considering the patients' remembering, and increasing the nursing staff's knowledge about the patient while helping the patient to know the goals of the nursing staff. The introduction and closure segments of the six nurse-patient interactions for preoperative preparation of the patient were analyzed. Nurses began the introductions by assuming that the patients needed relief from anxiety but the patients demonstrated politeness more than anxiety. Nurses used strategies of questioning, starting the physical assessment, topic persistence, and self-monitoring to control the closure segments. Patients used narratives and humor as control strategies. The study findings suggest conceptual areas relevant to nurse-patient communication which may ground theoretical model development for nurse-patient communication. Nurses in clinical settings can compare their patient communication experiences with the findings of the study in order to increase their understanding of expression, form, and function of nurse-patient communication.