Therapeutic communication which is intended to help the patient involves the interpersonal communication between the patient and the nurse. Therapeutic communication in nursing allows the patient and family to feel like someone actually cares for him or her in their time of need. It is a specific response that encourages expression of feelings or ideas and conveys the nurse’s compassion and respect for the patient.

Therapeutic communication is a purposeful form of communication, allowing the nurses and the patient to reach health-related goals through participation in a focused communication.Collaboration with all the members of the health care team might be considered the key to a successful therapeutic communication.

The nurse and the patient need to collaborate actively following different methodsof communication:

Active listening– attentive to what the patient is saying verbally and non-verbally

Share observations– discusses on howthe individual appears, sounds or acts

Empathy: is sensitive to the patient.

Share hope– conveys a sense of positivity.

Humour– has a positive effect on an individual. Make sure the patient understands what is being said.

Sharing feelings– help patients to share feelings by observing and encouraging communication.

Use touch– brings the sense of caring by holding a patient’s hand.

Use silence– it is useful in allowing the patient to think and gain some insight into the situat

Therapeutic communication techniques:

Asking relevant questions: Ask questions one at a time, to explore the topic before going on.

Providing information: Provide information that the patient needs to know.

Paraphrasing: Restating the patient’s message so that she / he knows that the nurse is listening.

Clarifying: Assess whether the patient understood the information.

Focusing: Focus on key issues in the conversation.

Summarizing: Brings a sense of closure to the conversation

Self disclosing: It is a way of showing the patient that the information is understood and shows respect for the patient.

Confronting : Helps the patient realize his/her inconsistencies in feelings, attitudes, or beliefs.

Communication Model:

Training on therapeutic Communication for Nurses:

Factors influencing therapeutic


  • Nurses Attitude
  • Competence of Nurses
  • Impact of training
  • Individual experience
  • Professionalism

AIDET Scripts:

A: Acknowledge

I: Introduce

D: Duration

E: Explanation

T: Thank you

Communication Board for ventilator & Tracheostomy Patients:

Barriers to effective communication including:

It is vital that all nurses are aware of potential barriers to communication; reflect on their own skills and how their workplace environment affects their ability to communicate effectively with patients.

  • Time constraints
  • Environmental issues such as noise and privacy
  • Pain and fatigue
  • Embarrassment and anxiety
  • Use of jargon
  • Values and beliefs
  • Information overload

Hospitals are expected to provide competent and quality care with through assessment, accurate diagnoses and effective treatment of patients who come to avail of their services. Nurses are closely associated with the process and their level of competence and communication determines whether a patient receives appropriate care or not.

– C. Bharathi, Nurse Educator

Apollo Cancer Institute Chennai

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