Reflective Account on the Importance of Non Verbal Communication in an Acute Setting

1584 Words Mar 13th, 2011 7 Pages
This assignment is a reflective account of my first experience when assisting a patient to eat lunch. For the purpose of this assignment I will refer to this patient as Mrs C to maintain confidentiality and comply with the NMC code (2008). It will discuss the importance of non-verbal communication when providing effective nursing care to the elderly.
As a framework for this reflection I am going to use the Gibbs (1988) Reflective Cycle which uses 6 stages; description, thoughts and feelings, evaluation, analysis, conclusion and action plan which will improve my nursing skills by continuously learning from both good and bad experiences, and develop my self confidence in relation to caring for others (Siviter 2008).
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I asked her if she would like to try some lunch and would she like me to assist her. She did not answer me verbally or with any other gestures other than to gaze at me. This made me feel very uncomfortable and slightly anxious. I attempted to put myself in her position and think how she might feel, unable to respond verbally to a complete stranger. I maintained her gaze to show her I was listening emphatically. I leaned closer to her, aware that I was invading her personal space and asked her if I could sit her up so that she was more comfortable and able to enjoy her lunch (Williams 1999) and reduce the possibility of choking and aspiration (Holmes 2008). As once again I did not get a verbal response, I maintained her gaze and helped her into an upright position, telling her what I was doing to reassure her. To create a secure and relaxed environment I pulled up a chair to sit on next to the bed.
I started to feed Mrs C small teaspoons of food giving her my full attention and talking to her as I did so. I lightly touched her hand to give her reassurance as I was unsure whether she could hear me. She did not withdraw her hand and appeared relaxed, therefore my uneasiness began to disappear. I was mindful that as she was unable to speak, extra effort would be required from me to maintain effective communication. I therefore tried to demonstrate an open posture, keep eye contact and use body gestures and facial expressions whilst keeping my tone
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