FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE THE COMMUNICATION PROCESS
Perception is a process by which the meanings of messages are interpreted. The way messages are perceived is related to a combination of a person’s social and cultural influences, gender, educational background and knowledge, and past experiences (Schuster 2010). This complex mix of influences means that no two people are likely to perceive the same message in exactly the same way. Some of the strongest influences on the way messages are sent and their meanings perceived are the attitudes, values and beliefs that individuals hold (Van Der Molen & Gramsbergen-Hoogland 2005). Clinical Interest Box 6.1 demonstrates communication ...view middle of the document...
It is natural for people’s values and beliefs to differ within and across social and cultural groups. Nurses will encounter many situations in which their own cultural values and beliefs differ from those of clients (see Ch 8). Tolerance and understanding of differences in views and cultural practices helps to facilitate therapeutic relationships between nurses and their clients (Pullen 2009). For example, a nurse who holds strong values and beliefs about no sex without marriage will need to demonstrate acceptance that personal views are not shared when caring for a pregnant, single, female client. If the nurse is unable to accept this and put personal views to one side, it will be difficult to communicate with the client in a therapeutic manner (Pullen 2009).
While a nurse’s personal values can create interference in therapeutic relationships if they are imposed on clients or used in judgment, they can also serve to enhance therapeutic effects. For example, a nurse who holds beliefs that all people have positive qualities and that every individual is a worthwhile person will find that such beliefs enhance the establishment of effective therapeutic relationships (Schuster 2010).
Differences in knowledge
When the level of knowledge between two people is different, communication can be difficult. For example, an individual’s level of knowledge may be so far above that of the person being spoken to that the meaning of the message may be lost entirely (Ellis 2009). The nurse must take care to express messages in words and phrases that will be understood. For example, a nurse who is familiar with nursing or medical language, especially jargon, may forget that a client may not be, and if words or phrases are used that are not part of the client’s vocabulary the message may be misinterpreted. The use of specific language that is familiar to members of a subculture or profession may confuse, frighten or alienate people who are not part of that subculture or profession. For example, not every male client will know what the nurse means when asked, ‘Do you need a bottle?’ The word bottle is nursing jargon used to describe a portable male urinal but it could easily be perceived as meaning something entirely different.
Past experiences can have a powerful effect on a person’s perceptions of the meaning of messages. For...