Publication Date



School of Nursing


Nursing (B.S.N.)


nursing, communication, patients


Nursing Administration | Other Nursing


Effective nurse-patient communication, also described as therapeutic communication, is essential for providing high quality nursing care. It increases patient satisfaction and health, decreases patient anxiety and disease symptoms, and increases patient cooperation and compliance to treatment. Some therapeutic communication techniques include attentive listening, empathy, silence, focusing, open-ended questions, clarification, exploring, clarifying, and summarizing. Unfortunately, there are barriers to therapeutic communication that have been identified. Research regarding nurse-patient therapeutic communication, consisting of secondary, qualitative, descriptive data, points to several barriers to therapeutic communication. Some of the barriers to therapeutic communication include nurse-patient gender difference; patient physical discomfort; nurse-patient language, culture, and religion differences; and a nurse’s workload which includes both the number of tasks the nurse must complete during a shift and the number of patients the nurse has been assigned to care for during the shift. Through analysis of the findings, nurse workload can be identified as one of the more pressing barriers to therapeutic communication as it affects the nurse’s time and energy during the shift and may decrease the effort to improve communication. For this reason, a proposed solution in response to the barriers to therapeutic communication is to improve nurse workload.