communication remains intact. There need to be participants who send or receive the
message. The medium of communication must also come into play. The barriers to effective
communication in any given set up interfere with the medium of communication. This may
be in form of noise, poor network coverage or misunderstanding of the language. As such, the
encoding and decoding processes in communication play an essential role. They determine
what the feedback will be. The sender of a message can only determine whether message
conveyance is successful if the conveyed feedback meets his or her expectation. A fault in
any of the processes of communication can render the entire process a waste of time and
resources. In a medical institution, the first check that nurses conduct is conversing with
patients. This sets the stage for all the other checks that follow and the diagnosis of the
patient. Through communication, the nurse can be able to set a conducive environment for
other sessions such as counselling. In scenarios where the patient has to be handed over to a
doctor, the medical attendant in charge of the ill person needs to pass all the relevant
information to the physician. In most cases, the information can either be verbal, nonverbal or
written. This paper seeks to investigate the barriers to effective communication in a medical
Addressing barriers to effective communication 3
Barriers to effective communication
The essence of communication is to enable the first person to pass a message to the second
person and obtain an answer that meets the set expectation. This cannot be achieved if the
communication process is hampered by any barriers. In some cases, the barriers may not
necessarily interfere with the feedback. The setbacks may actually cause delays. Such
suspensions in communication may spill over to affecting other working schedules.
The first hurdle to communication in a health institution is the establishment of a connection
between the nurse and the patient. In this scenario, both the victim and the caregiver are
totally unfamiliar with the expectations of each other. This happens especially if the sick
person is new to the attendant. The internal climate that governs communication defines this
challenge (Marquis & Huston, 2017).
Some sufferers will tend to be reserved and this will hinder the nurse from obtaining the
accurate information about their illness. Other sick persons may have a denial attitude due to
the fact that they are suffering from an infection that may be shameful to mention. The stress
the patient is going, the values possessed by the patient, and the feelings the patient has are
among the internal communication environment factors that determine the effectiveness of
interaction (Marquis & Huston, 2017). Internal factors also influence the communication
between employees. Most nurses have a tendency to respond negatively to the physician in
charge especially if the doctor has a negative attitude.
There are several external climatic factors which also play a major role in the determination
of the success of a talk between the caregiver and the sick person. In a noisy environment,
passing messages via verbal means may prove to be difficult. The timing of the message may
also determine how the message will be perceived. wrong timing is one of the exterior
Addressing barriers to effective communication 4
conditions which adversely affect the delivery and perception of messages (Marquis &
In some instance, caregivers may have to use symbols or cue that are non-verbal in nature to
pass messages. One great hindrance to the use of this form of information transmission is the
misunderstanding of the signs. In addition, the transmitter may also decide to use the wrong
sign for the right message. This automatically misguides the receptor. Reading forms of
message conveyance which are not verbal in nature assists the medical attendant to perceive
the feelings of the patient (Marquis & Huston, 2017).
In dealing with ailing persons who cannot speak, the carers need to be fluent with the
symbols used. This is normally a special case where the transmission of information from the
nurse to the patient may be very challenging. Other than listening to the nurses’ response, the
physicians should study the alternative cues of transferring information other than the verbal
means (Johansson, et al., 2014). This may assist in noting whether the medical assistants have
perceived the message positively.
Addressing ineffective communication
In order to address the problem of getting the patient on board in the first instance of
communication, the medical attendant has to understand and apply the G and four Rs’
principle. This model recommends the commencing of communication between a nurse and a
victim or fellow employee by greetings. This helps in breaking the ice. The nurse also ought
to listen to the patient with respect, review the conversation and request for additional
information if necessary. The medical personnel should then close the conversation by
rewarding or thanking the receiver for listening and participating (Marquis & Huston, 2017).
Addressing barriers to effective communication 5
Dealing with the external environment requires the health employee to gain the skills and art
of pulling the patient out of the reserved area. This may take time but it is necessary for
dealing with some serious medical conditions that have pushed the patient into trauma. One
such case is dealing with rape victims or people with sexually transmitted infections. The
attendant will need to apply special psychological skills in order to overcome this challenge.
This requires training. Experience through work and exposure to several cases of this nature
can also make a nurse an effective communicator.
The nurse has to understand how to deal with external conditions too. For instance, the timing
of presenting the diagnosis results to a victim must be handled with care. In situations where
the sufferer is unstable, the medical employee may need to calm the patient down before
presenting the outcome.
In noisy environments, it would be more appropriate to select a means of information
conveyance that cannot be interrupted by the noise. Such would include writing a message to
the receiver through a text message, an email or a note. Notes must be written in clear
handwriting. For proper application of cues which are not verbal in nature, a standardised
mechanism of communication with signs should be adopted by all employees through
training (Gifu, et al., 2014).
There are several challenges to effective communication in a nursing environment. The
transmission of the messages can take different forms. Despite the form of information
conveyance adopted, challenges that bar the passing of the message are inevitable. Some of
these challenges include toughness in starting the first interaction between the nurse and the
patient and improper use of signs. These problems also have solutions which can be applied
to eradicate the burden of ineffective communication in health centres. Training employees
Addressing barriers to effective communication 6
on how to boost communication and setting a good environment are among the methods that
can be applied to boost interactions.
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