Evaluation of a multiple component intervention to support the implementation of a 'Therapeutic Relationships' best practice guideline on nurses' communication skills

Nancy Edwards, Wendy E Peterson, Barbara L Davies
Patient Education and Counseling 2006, 63 (1): 3-11

OBJECTIVE: To determine if there was an improvement in nurses' communication skills 5 months after a multiple component intervention to implement the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario best practice guideline 'Establishing Therapeutic Relationships'.

METHODS: A matched pair, before and after design was used. Eight client scenarios with corresponding client comments were read aloud to nurses who were asked to respond verbally, as though they were interacting with the client. Responses were audio-taped and transcribed. The frequency and quality of nurses' active listening, initiating and assertiveness skills were measured pre- and post-implementation of the guideline.

RESULTS: Twenty-two nurses responded at both time points. Active listening skills were most frequently used. There was a statistically significant decrease in the number of active listening skills used, but a statistically significant improvement in the quality of active listening and initiating statements and frequency of initiating skills.

CONCLUSION: Nurses demonstrated improvements in selected communication skills following the implementation of a multiple component intervention that included a best practice guideline.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: A combination of strategies that support the implementation of a best practice guideline is described. Results indicate some improvement in communication skills that are essential to the establishment of therapeutic nurse-client relationships.

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