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Effective Healthcare Communication Essay

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Updated: Aug 29th, 2020


Communication is the transmission of a message, idea, or information between one person and another orally, through signals or gestures, and body language. There should be a sender who conveys the message in such a way that the recipient understands in order for there to be communication. Healthcare communication encompasses the data connections that are; discussion of patient’s condition or tests among the medical team, the interaction between one medical facility and another or one office, and another (Hugman, 2009). However, healthcare communication is mainly relevant in the interaction between a patient, family, and the medical team, and also among the members of the medical team.

It is of utmost importance for effective healthcare communication to ensure proper care and cultural and moral sensitivity to the patient. This paper discusses the basic elements of communication, and how these elements differ from the basic rules of healthcare. It also incorporates the issue of cultural differences and how they influence communication, and how one might encourage a patient to communicate effectively.

Effective Communication

All forms of communication verbal or nonverbal require both the sender of the message and the recipient to understand the message. If the recipient of information acts in accordance with what is expected by the sender, then there is effective communication. However, communication can only be made effective if there are the basic elements of communication which consist of; the sender, the receiver, the message, the channel, and the feedback (Hugman, 2009).

These are the key elements of timely and effective communication since all these five elements are crucial for information to be generated, sent, received, and then understood for the recipient to give feedback. All these aspects are the core attributes for effective communication, and hence the five basic elements of communication are crucial in communicating effectively.

Differences between Basic Elements of Effective Communication and Basic Rules of Health Care Communication

In healthcare communication, more emphasis is put on listening to the patient. Healthcare is more effective when a medical officer listens to the patient, and understands the different modes of care to take. He or she also knows areas that are more sensitive for instance; their cultural and religious beliefs. Ineffective communication, however, the only requirement is for the message to be understood and a course of action taken accordingly.

Healthcare communication also incorporates the nonverbal cues and the facial expressions by both the patient and the attending medical practitioner. Medical facilitators should be highly critical on their facial expressions, and the nonverbal cues they bring forth when attending to patients, because they may make or break the patient. On the other hand, they should also be able to carefully observe the patient’s expressions to be able to communicate effectively. Effective communication does not focus on the nonverbal cues and facial expressions but only focus on sending, receiving the message, and giving positive feedback.

Effective communication does not require both the sender and the recipient of the message to be present in order to communicate effectively. This can be done through mail, telephone, or other means as long as the recipient understands the message and acts accordingly then there is effective communication. Healthcare communication, however, requires both parties to be present at that moment for communication to be effective. The attending medical facilitator should be present together with the patient in order for him or her to assess the patient and give the care needed.

How to Encourage a Reluctant Consumer to Communicate Candidly

A consumer might be reluctant to give information due to different reasons. They may be cultural, religious, gender among others. It is crucial for a medical attendant to spot the reason early, so as to know the approach to take and get all the necessary information he or she may require, to diagnose and treat the patient (McCorry, 2011). One of the methods used is to give the patient guarantee of confidentiality.

Many patients are ashamed of some of their medical conditions and fear other people knowing about their conditions. It is, therefore, important for the medical practitioner to uphold their oath of confidentiality of the patient’s condition, and give their patient assurance that their conversation is confidential (McCorry, 2011).

This will make the patient open up to them. Other patients may be reluctant to give information due to the gender of the attending medical staff. If this is the case, it would be wise for one to get a medical practitioner of the opposite gender and let him or her handle the situation if available. The underlying factor for one to be able to make a patient communicate candidly is listening carefully to the little they say and observing the patient carefully, to assess the barrier in order to be able to look for the best way forward.

Impacts of Cultural Differences in Communication

Different people have different cultures giving rise to different languages and different beliefs. This situation makes it extremely difficult to communicate effectively especially when there is a difference in language. On the other hand, the nonverbal cues are not interpreted the same across all cultures and therefore, making it even more difficult to understand. It is, therefore, necessary for one to take caution while addressing people of a different culture as one may not want to offend them.


It can be concluded that communication is key in healthcare. It is, however, equally important for all members of the medical team to take caution while addressing their patients to ensure proper care. It can also be noted that patients may be reluctant in relaying information and looked at cultural differences impacts on communication. Healthcare communication is, therefore, a wide topic and should be studied comprehensively for proper healthcare.


Hugman, B. (2009). Healthcare communication. London: Pharmaceutical Press.

McCorry, L. K., & Mason, J. (2011). Communication skills for the healthcare professional. Philadelphia: Wolters Williams & Wilkins Health.

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