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A communication intervention for nursing staff in chronic care


V.M. Boscart: e-mail:


Title. A communication intervention for nursing staff in chronic care.

Aim.  The paper is a report of a study conducted to evaluate the effect of a brief, focused educational intervention on the quality of verbal interactions between nursing staff and patients in a chronic care facility.

Background.  Positive nurse–patient communication in chronic care is crucial to the quality of life and well-being of patients. Despite this, patients are dissatisfied with these interactions and nursing staff indicate the need for additional training.

Method.  A repeated-measures design was used to collect data between April 2003 and February 2004, by audiotaping verbal interactions between nursing staff and patients during morning care. Baseline data were analysed and an educational intervention was developed based on the results of the pretest. Five months after the educational intervention, interactions between the same nursing staff and patients were audiotaped. Twenty-seven randomly chosen patients and selected nursing staff participated in the study. Data were analysed using a qualitative comparative method, and a quantification technique was developed to compare the quality of the interactions before and after the intervention.

Findings.  Preintervention interactions were task-oriented, superficial and dominated by nursing staff. Results statistically significantly improved after the intervention was implemented. Nursing staff were less authoritative, used more solution-focused communication and interactions had a statistically significantly higher positive ratio.

Conclusion.  Brief interventions can change nursing staff’s communication practice and they realized the importance of effective communication as a fundamental component to deliver patient-focused care.