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The non-verbal communication skills of nursing students: Analysis of interpersonal behavior using videotaped recordings in a 5-minute interaction with a simulated patient

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Abstract Aim: 

The aim of this paper was to study the non-verbal communication skills of nursing students and to make a quantitative comparison of the communication techniques of nursing students and experienced nurses to provide guidance for education. Methods: 

Twenty-six students (the student group) and 13 nurses (the nurse group) played the role of a nurse. The participants interacted with two simulated patients for 5 min each. The simulated patient was in a sitting position and the nurse started interaction from a starting point that was 3 m away from the patient. Videotaped recordings of these scenarios were recorded and analysed every second using record paper. The analysis items were the distance between the patient and the nurse, posture and position, utterance time, the direction of a nursing person’s face to the patient, facial expression, head nodding, gestures, and the self-contact behavior of a nurse during interaction with a patient. Results: 

As 90% of the student group interacted in the standing position, significantly fewer students than the nurse group had their gaze level at the same level or lower than the client. The duration of upper limb and hand gestures was significantly shorter in the student group than for the nurse group. Conclusions: 

The finding that nursing students showed fewer non-verbal communication behaviors than nurses suggests there is a pressing need for the development of an educational program in nursing science training to improve non-verbal communications skills.
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Keywords: interpersonal behavior; non-verbal communication; nursing students; simulated patients; videotaped recordings

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Health Sciences, Hirosaki University, Hirosaki, Aomori and 2: Faculty of Education, Hirosaki University, Hirosaki, Aomori, Japan

Publication date: June 1, 2006

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