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A senior ward nurse explains why communication at every level is so important

JS qualified in the 1970s and has , for the last 15 years, worked as a hospice nurse. Whether it's dealing with relatives on the telephone or directly with patients on the ward, she believes that it is vital to train nurses to know how to communicate using the utmost sensitivity at all times.

She writes.....

In my training days and beyond, the sister played an active part in the hands on nursing ,usually working with the most junior nurse. We were expected to introduce ourselves to the patients at the start of a shift and inform them when we were going off duty. During my recent stay in hospital, I saw the sister once in 10 days , and even then she didn't address me or the other patients. I was recently a mentor to a third year student nurse who was with us for 6 weeks. On the first day she told me she did not make beds or give out commodes or baths! At the end of her 6 weeks she wrote us all a lovely letter thanking us for teaching her about people and the basic but vital nursing care

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