Communication Opinion



Effectivecommunication, both non-verbal and verbal, is an important tool thathelps the health care professionals and their clients to understandeach other in one sense. Although the two parties, the health careprovider the client, have roles to play in communication, it isgenerally expected that the health care provider should understandthe process of communication as well as the possible barriers inorder to facilitate an effective communication with their clients(Cox, 2013). This paper will address the incorporation of the basicelements of communication into an effective communication, thedifference between the basic elements of communication and the basicrules of communication in a health care setting, ways of encouragingthe clients to communicate openly, and ways in which cultureinfluences communication.

Howeffective communication incorporates the elements of communication

Workingin a health care sector involves a regular interaction with varioustypes of audiences, including colleagues, patients, health careproviders, and administrators. Different audiences require the use ofdifferent communication style in order to ensure that communicationis effective, which in turn calls for proper integration of the basicelements of communication, including the sender, receiver, message,channel, and the feedback. For an effective communication to beaccomplished, the sender of the message should use effectivenon-verbal and verbal techniques. The receiver should in turn listento the message carefully and decode its meaning as intended by thesender for an effective communication to occur. The sender shouldalso use the most appropriate channel to pass the message to receive.The receiver should then create an appropriate feedback thataddresses the concerns of the sender in order to complete thecommunication process effectively (Lunenburg, 2010).

Differencebetween the basic elements of effective communication and the basicrules of health care communication

Differencesbetween the two types of communication elements are based on the factthat communication in health care plays a crucial role health caredecisions and the manner in which information is conveyed through allcomponents that approach the feedback. Vital components as well asthe urgency or the nature of a conversation should be conveyedtogether with the message in health care communication (Lunenburg,2010). The receiver of such a message should understand the urgencyor the nature of the patient’s concern in order to decode thecorrect feedback. Urgency and the nature of concern are not equallysignificant in the basic communication. In addition, the senders (thespeaker) have their needs addressed in the basic communicationprocesses, while the clients in the health care communication havetheir needs met by the health are providers. In essence, the primaryobjective of health care communication is to achieve quality healthcare and enhance the well-being of the client.

Howto encourage reluctant clients communicate candidly

Thehealth care communication process is characterized by differentchallenges that hinder the clients’ capacity to communicate withhealth care providers in an open way. However, there are fourstrategies that the health care provider can use to encourage theirclients communicate candidly. First, building trust with clients isan effective way of making them feel free to communicate all theconcerns with the health care professionals (Krause &amp Dunn,2006). This can be achieved by showing empathy to clients andconversing with them places that give them some assurance that theconversation is confidential. Secondly, health care professionalsshould be culturally competent in order to ensure that theyunderstand the potential cultural barriers that might prevent theirclients from speaking openly. Culturally competent health careprofessionals are able to bridge the cultural differences betweenthem and their clients by strengthening the stability of theirrelationships with clients (Dent, 2014). This means that the way thehealth care providers receive, relates to, and communicate with theirclients determines whether the patient will communicate candidly.

Howcultural differences influence communication

Theincrease in the popularity of the concepts of globalization andimmigration has resulted in the establishment of multiculturalsocieties that calls for cultural sensitivity, especially in thehealth care communication. Cultural differences influence both verbaland nonverbal communication. For example, some cultures speak in highcontext while others use the low context. Individuals from the highcontext culture give an explanation of everything they speak becausethey assume that other people do not have any information on a giventopic (Cox, 2013). The low context culture does not see the need togive explanations for what they speak about since they assume thatother people understand what they say. In the western culture, somefacial expressions (such as smiling) are used to illustratefriendliness while in the Asian cultures (such as the Japanese)smiling to a stranger is inappropriate. In addition, some culturesperceive that maintaining eye contact during a conversation is a signof attentiveness, while others think that eye contact is anindication of aggressiveness (Cox, 2013). Based on the aboveexamples, it is evident that cultural differences may act ascommunication barriers since different cultures have differentperceptions about various methods of conveying messages, in bothnon-verbal and verbal communication.


Effectivenessis an important aspect of communication because it ensures that theconversing parties get the message as it was intended by the senderand give appropriate feedback. Elements of an effective communicationinclude the framing of the message in the appropriate way, use of themost suitable channel to pass the message, and giving an appropriatefeedback. Effective communication in the health care setting isguided by different rules, such as the need to be objective, clear,and avoidance of interruptions. Cultural differences are some of thekey barriers of communication, especially in the contemporarymulticultural society.


Cox,C. (2013). Culturalinfluence on verbal and non-verbal communication.Santa Monica: Demand Media.

Dent,L. (2014). Therole of cultural competency in eliminating health disparities.New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company LLC.

Krause,T. &amp Dunn, S. (2006). Howare leadership and culture related to patient safety?New York: Behavioral Science Technology Incorporation.

Lunenburg,C. (2010). Communication: The process, barriers, and improvingeffectiveness. Schooling1(1), 1-11.