A qualitative study on non-verbal sensitivity in nursing students

Chung Yee Zenobia Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aims and objectives: To explore nursing students' perception of the meanings and roles of non-verbal communication and sensitivity. It also attempts to understand how different factors influence their non-verbal communication style. Background: The importance of non-verbal communication in the health arena lies in the need for good communication for efficient healthcare delivery. Understanding nursing students' non-verbal communication with patients and the influential factors is essential to prepare them for field work in the future. Design: Qualitative approach based on 16 in-depth interviews. Methods: Sixteen nursing students from the Master of Nursing and the Year 3 Bachelor of Nursing program were interviewed. Major points in the recorded interviews were marked down for content analysis. Results: Three main themes were developed: (1) understanding students' non-verbal communication, which shows how nursing students value and experience non-verbal communication in the nursing context; (2) factors that influence the expression of non-verbal cues, which reveals the effect of patients' demographic background (gender, age, social status and educational level) and participants' characteristics (character, age, voice and appearance); and (3) metaphors of non-verbal communication, which is further divided into four subthemes: providing assistance, individualisation, dropping hints and promoting interaction. Conclusions: Learning about students' non-verbal communication experiences in the clinical setting allowed us to understand their use of non-verbal communication and sensitivity, as well as to understand areas that may need further improvement. Relevance to clinical practice: The experiences and perceptions revealed by the nursing students could provoke nurses to reconsider the effects of the different factors suggested in this study. The results might also help students and nurses to learn and ponder their missing gap, leading them to rethink, train and pay more attention to their non-verbal communication style and sensitivity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1941-1950
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Volume22
Issue number13-14
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2013

Keywords

  • Metaphor and qualitative
  • Non-verbal communication
  • Non-verbal cues
  • Non-verbal sensitivity
  • Nursing students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

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