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Communication Techniques in Nursing Assessment

Communication Techniques in Nursing Assessment

Gathering patients’ data is a critical procedure in the nursing process and care delivery. Frequently referred to as nursing assessment, nurses must systemically collect health information from the patients so that they can provide effective and relevant care (Haidet & Paterniti 2019). While it might be tempting to think otherwise, a nursing health assessment is so much more than asking the patient questions. It is the gateway to establishing effective nurse-patient relationships that make patients feel comfortable, supported, and empowered. Since there are few technological applications in a nursing assessment besides electronic data entry, I majorly employ communication skills and techniques to ensure effective communication for better health assessment findings.

Firstly, as a nurse, I must actively listen to my patients rather than simply listen while conducting health history assessments. Active listening entails the listener (care provider in this case) fully comprehending what their patients are communicating through verbal and non-verbal signs (such as pain and body language), as well as patients’ emotional conditions (Sibiya, 2018). Complete concentration is vital while conducting a nursing assessment, and nurses should listen carefully and use verbal and non-verbal prods to encourage patients to give detailed information concerning their symptoms and their general background.

Adaptive questioning or guided questioning is another valuable communication technique in my nursing career as it encourages the patients to fully communicate without interruption of narrative flow. The nurse should begin with general, more specific questions as the nursing assessment progresses. Nursing assessments require questioning that provokes graded responses versus yes/no replies (Sibiya, 2018). Asked one at a time, a series of questions often helps patients to open up, as does presenting multiple choices for answers. It is also important to request additional information if needed by asking patients to clarify their statements. A technique called echoing (Haidet & Paterniti 2019) – repeating patients’ statements – is also vital, as well as using verbal and non-verbal continuers, such as head nodding or uttering statements like “go on” while the patient is giving out information.

Non-verbal communication is another important technique in nursing assessments whereby as a nurse, I must be in tune with patients’ non-verbal communication, such as maintaining eye contact, body posture, facial expression, and others. Reading and understanding non-verbal cues help nurses fully understand patients, and using non-verbal communication – such as mirroring patients’ positions or therapeutic physical contact (such as placing a hand on a patient’s arm, for instance) – can further improve the assessment.

Showing empathy, authentication, and encouragement is a key communication skill in nursing assessments, as it reveals that the nurse understands and cares about the patient’s experience and helps in establishing a healthy nurse-patient relationship (Haidet & Paterniti 2019). Nurses can show empathic responses during assessment by both verbal (“I understand” or “I am sorry”) and non-verbal (offering a tissue when the patient cries). Beyond being empathic, nurses should also ensure that they validate patients’ feelings to reassure them that their emotional states are natural and normal and their underlying problems have been understood and will be addressed accordingly.

Finally, as I am aware that health problems provoke anxiety feelings in patients, one way of effectively calming their fears is using transitions during assessments to let them understand what they should expect in their next procedures of the care process, such as changes in subject matter or physical examinations. Also, patients may feel vulnerable when they are faced with adversities or health problems, making it important to empower them by engaging them in the care process. Using empowerment communication techniques to make patients closely work with the care provision team can positively impact the care process outcomes.


Haidet P, Paterniti D. “Building” a patient history rather than “taking” one: Perspective on information sharing during the medical interview. Arch Intern Meds. 2019; Vol. 163: pg. 1134– 1140

Sibiya, M. N. (2018). Effective Communication in Nursing. New York: Gateway Press.


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Communication Techniques in Nursing Assessment

Communication Techniques in Nursing Assessment

Communication Techniques in Nursing Assessment

As nurses, we complete physical assessments on a routine basis, even though they are typically focused assessments.

  • What type of technology have you seen utilized in your assessment process that assists in your effectiveness to communicate findings both orally and in written format?
  • If no technology, how do you ensure effective communication for assessment findings?
400 words

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