Reassurance: a nursing skill?


  • Heinz-Peter French S.T.D.(Lond.) Dip.N.(Lond.) S.R.N. R.M.N. R.N.T. M.R.S.H.

    1. Nurse Tutor (Psychiatry), Durham Area Combined Schools of Nursing, Winterton Hospital, Stockton-on-Tees, Cleveland
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The proposition of this paper is principally that if the term ‘reassurance’ is used by nurses its meaning should be clearly stated and the methods by which it may be achieved should be clearly identified.

The author begins by attempting to identify a workable definition of the term and by arguing a case for taking the approach that it is a nursing interpersonal skill rather than a nursing psychotherapy. Using this as the basis for the rest of the discussion he then suggests that as an interpersonal skill it is open to analysis and behaviours can be identified which help to achieve a restoration of the patient's confidence. Further to this, learning objectives are stated in the hope that the concept of reassurance can be seen as a skill which can be enhanced by educational processes. Full competence in the use of interpersonal skills is not a stable feature in all human beings; in every individual nurse there is scope for the development and training of interpersonal skills.

Finally, the author attempts to achieve the major aim of the paper-stating nursing actions which may be employed in order to achieve this reassurance of the patient.