Communication is the way in which we exchange information. It is how we express our thoughts, feelings and needs to one another and the people around us. This is a two way process that can only be effective if the message is interpreted as the sender intends it to be. This message can be transmitted from the sender to the receiver in two ways: By the words they have spoken, known as verbal communication and their body language known as non verbal communication (Kenworthy et al 2002). Communication is much more than just exchanging information to one another, it is defined as:
"a complex composite of verbal and non verbal behaviours integrated for the purpose of sharing information" (Crowther 1991, Cited in Arnold and Underman Boggs, 2003:217).
One form of communication is verbal communication which is the conscious use of words spoken or written. The choice of words used by each individual can be reflected by their age, education, developmental level and attitude.
Non- verbal communication is a less conscious act as that of the words spoken. It uses physical appearance, a persons posture, facial expressions and gestures to determine how they feel (Kenworthy et al 2002).
Communication is extremely relevant within the nursing practice. The United Kingdom Central Council for Nursing and Midwifery and Health Visiting (UKCC) states that to be fit for practice, a registered nurse must be competent to:
"engage in, develop and disengage from therapeutic relationships through the use of appropriate communication and interpersonal skills" (UKCC 1999, Cited in Kenworthy et al, 2002:254).
Good communication between the patient and nurse can help determine the patient's illness, treatments and also relay any thoughts or fears they may have about their condition.
This essay will look at how we communicate using verbal and non-verbal messages, but will...