The role of communication in nursing — perceptual variations in student/teacher responses in Northern Ireland

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Abstract

The value of sound communication/interpersonal skills in nursing has been clearly demonstrated over recent years. However, precise definition of what constitutes such skills, and how these skills should be developed, remains comparatively ill-defined. This lack of positive definition in turn presents considerable difficulties for nurse training in communication skills, where both the basic purpose and value of such training may be perceived quite differently by teachers and by student nurses. Based on a field study in Nothern Ireland, this paper not only highlights some of the existing inadequacies of current nurse training in communication skills, but also examines some of the disturbing wider educational implications of this problem.

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