Asma Akbar Ali
Teaching & Learning in Nursing Practice is Critical for Gaining
Optimum Health Targets
Asma Akbar Ali
Practicing Counselor& Education psychologist
Nurses have a very important role to play as health educators and behavioural role-
models in all aspects of their “Continuum of Professional Services”. As professional
health care providers’ nurses are required to not only provide physical/ambulatory,
medical, mental and emotional support but to ensure the engagement of their
client/s by educating them and building their intellectual understanding of the
disease & health process that they are undergoing.
It is critical that the client/s under care is aware and involved in the health care
choices being made. The health plan and services should be designed collaboratively
between the nurse and client. Nurses use their knowledge about the health
condition and relevant clinical practices whereas the clients’ offer information on
life style and pattern to make informed decisions, affordability and commitment
towards the compliance. Though nurses’ role as an “educator” is least recognized, it
is probably the most critical of all especially if we are serious to achieve the country
optimum health targets. The nurse educators have a role as providers throughout
the continuum of health be it, prevention, promotion, cure-treatment, ambulation
and emergency first aid, rehabilitation, and palliative.
Moreover, in today’s changing life styles of people, there is a great changing trends
invasion through globalization and modernization pressures like lack of self time
and limited family life due to the pressures of social networking plus the promotion
of cosmetic diets like fizzy chemical drinks and high carbonate foods that is
disturbing the health pattern of people. Nurses are required to be more involved
educating and supporting their clients for making healthy life style and
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maintenance decisions where disease preventions, and pre and post clinical
management is required.
Essential skill set for Nurse Health Educators
If nurses want to deliver impactful services then the essential skill set for them
would be Communication. Nurses have to continuously practice communication so
as to be able to build, demonstrate and be prepared to use exceptional
communication in all setting especially where there are high-stress situations in
times of natural or human-made emergency situations. Another reason that
communication skills is essential is that the nurse always works within a team and
is required to collaborate and maintain work relationship with professional
colleagues as well as persons from other discipline who are involved in care services.
It is the nurse who plays a pivotal role in providing the client-centered care in
hospitals and outside therefore nurses listen, understand and address the concerns
of clients and their extended families. Poor communication will and can lead to
many misunderstandings and failure to follow care protocols, thus causing
undesirable outcomes. Communication competency influence the quality of
decisions made, as well as the level of care recipient motivation to follow treatment
protocols and achieve desired care outcomes.
In order to interact and understand the client’s concerns, experiences, and opinions,
both verbal and nonverbal communication along with active listening is the basic
requirements. Verbal communication is always to speak with clarity, accuracy, and
honesty. It’s also important to know your audience and speak appropriately
according to the person’s age, culture, and level of health literacy. Using more open
questions like “Can you tell me a bit more about that?” will give room for the client
to speak without restrictions. It is also essential that the communication is
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maintained at a professional level and pet names of relationing be avoided e.g.
“honey” or “dear” or “aunty” or “uncle “and instead use the client’s first name or
name of choice and ensure to avoid technical jargon. Nonverbal Communication
such as facial expressions, eye contact, body gestures body postures, hands gestures,
tone of voice, looking at the watch, nodding of the head, leg movements
communicate messages therefore when interacting both verbal and nonverbal
Active Listening is relating with actually listening such that the nurse is able to
understand and relate with the communicating client’s experience. The highest and
most effective form of listening requires complete attention and engagement
through both verbal and nonverbal communication. For example:
Nodding head but not interrupt.
Lean forward and maintain eye contact
Include verbal encouragement, such as “I understand,” and “please continue ”
Documentation skills are also essential for effective communication especially in
order to record the assessments, nurse diagnosis, and the health plan that is being
implemented and its progress outcomes. It is critical that all the documentation is
done timely and is accurate so that all services are communicated throughout the
team even if the nurse is physically absent when the information on the health
services is required. However, Nurses must be conscious to protect patient
Nurses have to be Cultural Aware just because nurses work with people who come
from a wide range of social, cultural, and educational backgrounds. Every person
and coworkers is unique, and it’s important that nurses are aware and sensitive to
different cultural and be aware of the differences and similarities of health practices
and its rationales when communicating with the clients.
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Barriers to Communication
At times there are barriers in communication and it is seen that that message that
was being sent was not received the way it was meant to be which lead to
miscommunication and result in disputed client- nurse relation. Communication
barriers must be recognized and reduced if nurses want to be effective in the care
provision and health education for positive behaviour change to occur in the clients.
In the article “Communication and Language Needs,” Dawn Weaver identifies three
common communication barriers in nursing: physical, social, and psychological.
Physical Barriers is present in the environment such as busy, loud, and distracting
settings. Nurses need to ensure a safe and communication friendly environment,
Social barriers include differences in language, religion, culture, age, and customs.
Understanding cultural background can help nurses avoid prejudice and
communicate clearly. It’s a good idea to tailor communication strategies depending
on age, For example; a 12-year-old and a 70-year-old will have very different ideas
of what health and healthcare mean to them.
Psychological Barriers is present because for many persons going to a health
professional is anxiety-inducing. Anxiety and stress are psychological barriers, as
are dementia and other cognitive conditions. To help reduce their influence, it helps
to take extra time to listen, empathize, and be supportive. Such psychosocial
care has been proven to improve patient health outcomes and quality of life.
Nurses may also need to overcome their own psychological barriers. Speaking about
death, disease, and other sensitive topics can be distressing.