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Therapeutic Communications for Nurses

Assignment 2: Conference Abstract

Dara Yastrzemski

SUNY Delhi

NURS-604-11465-201809 Graduate Practicum I

Kirsty Digger

September 24, 2018


Therapeutic Communications for Nurses


Dara Yastrzemski, RN BSN, is a psychiatric service line care manager at Bassett Medical Center

in Cooperstown, New York. In her current role, Dara is a full time care manager who functions

in an expanded nursing role that collaborates with patients and the multidisciplinary team to

provide care to the Bassett Healthcare Network patient population specific to behavioral health.

Dara's research interests include holistic nursing care, behavioral health, inter-professional

collaborative teamwork and holistic therapeutic communication for nursing. Dara is currently

enrolled in SUNY Delhi's Master of Science in Nursing Education program, with an expected

graduation date of December, 2018.


American Psychiatric Nurses Association

APNA 32nd Annual Conference, October 24-27, 2018

This conference brings together psychiatric nurses from around the nation to develop new skills,

demonstrate best practices, exchange lessons learned, share current evidence-based research, and

discover valuable resources. In addition to education, attendees will have valuable interaction

and networking opportunities with colleagues.


Measurable Learning Outcomes of Session

Attendees of the lecture will be able to identify knowledge gaps in their practice and after

participation will be able to describe how therapeutic communication can assist in a more holistic


approach to patient care. Most healthcare clinicians experience a gap in what they think they are

doing and what they are actually doing when it concerns therapeutic communication. This lecture

will allow the learners to discuss and demonstrate a more mindful communication process and

impart the skills to use to build on and practice hone their therapeutic communication skill set.

Instructional Methods

 Learner-centered methods

 Educational framework and rationale for communication skills

 Demonstrations of how skills apply to typical clinical cases

 Small group skills sessions-utilizing real-life clinical scenarios

 Reflection and Feedback

Identified Knowledge Gap

Nursing is a health care science as evidenced by the use of the nursing process as a scientific

method. The two-way process of communication requires an understanding of the patient and the

experiences they express. Seasoned clinicians have experience in patient interactions, but in this

era of evidence-based nursing, the formal education of nurses in therapeutic communications has

been lacking. The act of communication is a set of codes that need to be interrupted and decoded

correctly. The lack of formal training and feedback of communication skills results in trial and

error to create a skill set that may or may not be the most effective or efficient. To communicate

effectively with enlightened and compassionate care, requires learned skill and is imperative to

providing the best patient care. This lecture will assist nurses to better hone their communication

skills and give them therapeutic communication tools to build upon their skills.

Nurse Education Focus

Evidence-based pedagogy



Therapeutic communication is one of the pillars of nursing skills. This lecture explores examples

of therapeutic communication techniques in nursing, including active listening, conflict

resolution and imparting information to the patient. Communication is a two-way process where

an exchange of ideas, thoughts, and emotions takes place through verbal or nonverbal signals. In

nursing, communication is important because it determines the outcome of patient-nurse

interactions. Nurses must use clear, relevant, simple, adaptable, and credible language when

communicating verbally. Therapeutic communication is a process where communication

techniques are being used to promote the wellbeing of a patient in a nursing care profession. The

purpose of therapeutic communication helps the nurse to gain the trust of patients and enhances

the inter-professional collaboration within the healthcare team. When patients believe that a

nurse cares about them, understands them, and is concerned about their problems, then a clear

communication channel opens to strengthen the individualized care. Active listening starts in the

introductory period when a nurse begins interacting with the patient. This technique requires

nurses to use their senses and attentiveness to analyze verbal and nonverbal communication with

conscientiousness to a patient. Active listening involves: listening to the patient, comprehending

or understanding what the patient is saying, retaining the information provided by the patient,

using the information provided by the patient to respond in a caring and appropriate manner or

propose a solution. The ability to work with professionals from other disciplines to deliver

collaborative, patient-centered care is considered a critical element of professional practice

requiring a specific set of competencies. However, a generally accepted framework for

collaborative competencies is missing, which makes consistent preparation of students and staff


challenging. Within inter-professional education and collaborative practice, the goal was to

understand the competencies for collaborative practice utilizing therapeutic communication skills

that are considered most relevant by health professionals working at the front line. For

therapeutic communication competencies there is evidence of a link to positive patient and

provider outcomes. Nursing and medical staff education aimed at increasing therapeutic

communication will also increase collaborative practice skills and positive patient outcomes.


Kourkouta, L. & Papathanasiou, I.V. (2014). Communication in nursing practice. Journal of the

Academy of Medical Sciences of Bosnia and Herzegovina, 26(1), 65-67.


Laffan, S. (2011). Therapeutic communication and behavioral management. Retrieved from