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Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Addressing Barriers to Effective Communication

From moment to moment, a nurse leader’s day involves communication—with patients, families, colleagues, supervisors, and so on.

Think of a particular day you spent working in a health care environment, and consider three or four distinct points in time. For each point of time, consider the following: With whom did you interact? Which forms of communication did you use? What issues were communicated about—did they seem to be light-hearted or sensitive? Straightforward or complicated? How would you describe the pace of the interactions and your work?

As you consider these questions, it becomes clear that communication can be quite complex, with many layers of meaning that shape the experience for everyone involved. How could this awareness help you to understand instances of ineffective communication when they arise?

To prepare:

  • Review the information in Chapter 19 of the course text, as well as the assigned articles.
  • Reflect on an incident involving ineffective communication within your organization or another health care setting. Consider this incident through the lens of the communication process outlined in Figure 19.1 of the course text (p. 439).
  • What barriers contributed to this incident? What other challenges may have influenced this situation?
  • Using the information presented in the other Learning Resources, consider what could have been done to prevent or address the ineffective communication. Why do you think the use of these strategies would have resulted in better outcome(s)?

Post  (1) a summary of an incident involving ineffective communication. (2) Describe communication barriers and other challenges that contributed to the incident. (3) Propose one or more strategies that could have been employed to promote a better outcome. (4) Be sure to refer to elements of the communication process.

Required Resources

Note: To access this week's required library resources, please click on the link to the Course Readings List, found in the Course Materials section of your Syllabus.


  • Marquis, B. L., & Huston, C. J. (2015). Leadership roles and management functions in nursing: Theory and application (8th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.

    • Review Chapter 19, “Organizational, Interpersonal, and Group Communication”
  • Gifu, D., Dima, I. C., & Teodorescu, M. (2014). New communication approaches vs. traditional communication. International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences, (20), 46-55.

    Retrieved from Walden Library Databases.

    The study highlights some communication instances of actual approach of human society evolution in contrast with traditional communication.
  • Johansson, C., Miller, V. D., Hamrin, S. (2014) Conceptualizing communicative leadership: A framework for analyzing and developing leaders’ communication competence, Corporate Communications: An International Journal, 19 (2), 147 – 165.

    Retrieved from Walden Library Databases.

    Excerpt from Abstract: Four central communicative behaviors of leaders (i.e. structuring, facilitating, relating, and representing), eight principles of communicative leadership, and a tentative definition are presented. A communicative leader is defined as someone who engages employees in dialogue, actively shares and seeks feedback, practices participative decision making, and is perceived as open and involved.
  • Manojlovich, M., Harrod, M., Holtz, B., Hofer, T., Kuhn, L., & Krein, S. L. (2015). The Use of Multiple Qualitative Methods to Characterize Communication Events Between Physicians and Nurses. Health communication, 30(1), 61-69.

    Retrieved from Walden Library Databases.

    The purpose of this study was to develop a methodology for identifying and characterizing communication events between physicians and nurses to better understand communication patterns on general medical–surgical units. 
  • Seyranian, V. (2014). Social Identity Framing communication strategies for mobilizing social change. The Leadership Quarterly25(3), 468-486.

    Retrieved from Walden Library Databases.

    Except from Abstract: Social identity framing delineates a set of communication tactics that leaders may use to harness follower support for a vision of social change.  Results showed that participants exposed to inclusive language were more likely to indicate that renewable energy was in-group normative; intend to engage in collective action to bring renewable energy to campus; experience positive emotions and confidence about change; and to view the leader more positively. The combination of inclusive language and positive social identity increased ratings of leader charisma.
  • Van Keer, R. V., Deschepper, R. D., Huyghens, L. H., Distelmans, W. D., & Bilsen, J. B. (2014). Dealing with cultural diversity during the process of communication and decision-making in the ICU: a literature review. Critical Care18(Suppl 1), P24. doi:10.1186/cc13214

    Retrieved from Walden Library Databases.

    Excerpt from Abstract: The aim of this study is to review the experiences of the involved actors, namely the care providers, the patients and their family members, with cultural diversity during the process of communication and decision-making in the ICU.

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