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Navigating between Compassion and Uncertainty – Psychiatric Nurses’ Lived Experiences of Communication with Patients Who Rarely Speak
Stiftelsen Hemmet, Åland.
Mälardalen University, School of Health, Care and Social Welfare. (Care, Recovery & Health)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9714-577X
2020 (English)In: Issues in Mental Health Nursing, ISSN 0161-2840, E-ISSN 1096-4673, Vol. 42, no 4, p. 307-316Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Caring conversations are considered essential in psychiatric and mental health nursing. However, some patients are more or less silent and rarely express themselves verbally. This can be challenging for nurses who also need to find ways of communicating with these patients. Therefore, the aim of this study is to describe psychiatric nurses’ lived experiences of communication with patients who rarely speak. Five nurses were recruited from a psychiatric nursing home. Participants were encouraged in interviews to reflect on their experiences of caring for patients who are more or less silent. The transcribed interviews were subject to a phenomenological hermeneutic analysis. The findings are reflected in three main themes: (i) giving space for the unspoken narrative, (ii) remaining in uncertainty, and (iii) being in reflective vigilance. The themes were synthesised and reflected on in the light of Fredriksson’s theory of caring conversations. The comprehensive understanding reveals that nurses’ understanding of the patient’s unspoken narrative relies both on compassion and a willingness to engage, but also on a preparedness to remain in the uncertainty of not knowing. Balancing good intentions and the fear of one’s own shortcomings requires reflections not only in actions during encounters with the patient, but on actions. When nurses can apprehend and respond to what the patient expresses non-verbally, a joint narrative can emerge.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2020. Vol. 42, no 4, p. 307-316
Keywords [en]
scychiatric care, non-verbal communication, silence, phenomenological hermeneutics
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Research subject
Care Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-49531DOI: 10.1080/01612840.2020.1793246ISI: 000559548100001PubMedID: 32790482Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85089465471OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-49531DiVA, id: diva2:1458389
Available from: 2020-08-17 Created: 2020-08-17 Last updated: 2021-11-09Bibliographically approved

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Publisher's full textPubMedScopushttps://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01612840.2020.1793246

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