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How Errors in Therapeutic Communication And/Or Professional Boundaries Made by the Nurse Impact on Patient Safety and the Nurse/Patient Relationship

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Year after year, nursing tops nationalpolls of the most widely respected andtrusted professions. The results of these pollsreflect the special relationship and bond betweennurses and those under their care

Patients canexpect a nurse to act in their best interests andto respect their dignity.

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The ANMC state on the topic of confidentiality, that nurses must insure the information obtained in a professional setting remain private and that information received is not used by nurses to give them an advantage or power in any way. Education in the matter is one solution to guarantee the boundaries and to keep a professional position. These breaches can be classified as boundary crossings, boundary violations or sexual misconduct and can lead to violations of a nurse’s professional responsibility causing consequences to occur

Nurses have a professional responsibility to ensure that safe boundaries are kept in the relationship between patient and Nurse. It is these boundaries that provide the nursing profession with integrity, and according to Baca it is essential these boundaries be maintained because of the difference in power between the nurse and patient. However, boundary violations can occur, when a nurse crosses from the zone of helpfulness to over involved, the ANMC believes that when a violation occurs a nurse is behaving unprofessional manner and misusing their power in the patient nurse relationship.

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Communication is a multi-dimensional, multi-factorial phenomenon and a dynamic, complex process, closely related to the environment in which an individual’s experiences are shared. Since the time of Florence Nightingale in 19th century until today, specialists and nurses have paid a great deal of attention to communication and interaction in nursing (Fleischer, Berg, Zimmermann, Wüste, & Behrens, 2009). Effective communication is an important aspect of patient care, which improves nurse-patient relationship and has a profound effect on the patient’s perceptions of health care quality and treatment outcomes (Li, Ang, & Hegney, 2012)

Effective communication is the key element in providing high-quality nursing care, and leads to patient satisfaction and health (Cossette, Cara, Ricard, & Pepin, 2005). Effective communication skills of health professionals are vital to effective health care provision, and can have positive outcomes including decreased anxiety, guilt, pain, and disease symptoms.

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Finally, most times nursing as a health care science focuses on meeting the health needs of human as a biopsychosocial and spiritual being, but nursing practice requires not only scientific knowledge, but an additional effective interpersonal communication, intellectual and technical abilities and skills.

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Downey D, Happ M. B. The Need for Nurse Training to Promote Improved Patient-Provider Communication for Patients with Complex Communication Needs. Perspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication. 2013;22(2):112–119.

Fleischer S, Berg A, Zimmermann M, Wüste K, Behrens J. Nurse-patient interaction and communication: A systematic literature review. Journal of Public Health. 2009;17(5):339–353.

Gilmartin J, Wright K. Day surgery: Patients’ felt abandoned during the preoperative wait. Journal of Clinical Nursing. 2008;17(18):2418–2425.

Okougha M, Tilki M. Experience of overseas nurses: The potential for misunderstanding. British Journal of Nursing. 2010;19(2):102–106. http://dx.doi.org/10.12968/bjon.2010.19.2.46293 .

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