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What counts as effective communication in nursing?: Evidence from nurse educators' and clinicians' feedback on nurse interactions with simulated patients.

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • Sally O'Hagan
  • Elizabeth Manias
  • Catherine Elder
  • John Pill
  • Robyn Woodward-Kron
  • Tim McNamara
  • Gillian Webb
  • Geoff McColl
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>06/2014
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number6
Number of pages12
Pages (from-to)1344-1355
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date14/11/13
<mark>Original language</mark>English



To examine the feedback given by nurse educators and clinicians on the quality of communication skills of nurses in interactions with simulated patients.


The quality of communication in interactions between nurses and patients has a major influence on patient outcomes. To support the development of effective nursing communication in clinical practice, a good understanding of what constitutes effective communication is helpful.


An exploratory design was used involving individual interviews, focus groups and written notes from participants and field notes from researchers to investigate perspectives on nurse–patient communication.


Focus groups and individual interviews were held between August 2010–September 2011 with a purposive sample of 15 nurse educators and clinicians who observed videos of interactions between nurses and simulated patients. These participants were asked to give oral feedback on the quality and content of these interactions. Verbatim transcriptions were undertaken of all data collected. All written notes and field notes were also transcribed. Thematic analysis of the data was undertaken.


Four major themes related to nurse–patient communication were derived from the educators' and clinicians' feedback: approach to patients and patient care, manner towards patients, techniques used for interacting with patients and generic aspects of communication.


This study has added to previous research by contributing grounded evidence from a group of nurse educators and clinicians on the aspects of communication that are relevant for effective nurse–patient interactions in clinical practice.