Student Nurses’ Interpersonal Skills – an Exploration of Teaching, Research and Practice Issues. A Report of a Mini Project Funded by the LTSN Centre for Health Science & Practice. January 2004
At a time when doubts are raised regarding the quality of interaction between nurses and patients (Bowles et al 2001) there is an increased awareness of the importance of communication skills teaching and for effective evaluation of student nurse performance in this area (Booth et al 1999). With this in mind a study was conceived to explore the interaction between student nurses and patients, and whether the methodological approach – that of conversation analysis (CA) - provides a viable approach to study this type of interaction; with a particular eye on the teaching and assessing of interpersonal skills within an undergraduate adult nursing programme.
There were four main areas of enquiry that this study was interested in:
1. to assess the effectiveness of conversation analysis as a means of evaluating student nurse communication skills
2. to better understand the dynamics of student nurse-patient interaction through the analysis of naturally occurring clinical data
3. to attempt to gauge patient’s evaluation of student nurse interaction.
4. to explore whether the data collected during this study could be used as an educational resource within the interpersonal skills training of pre-registration nurses.