Background Trinity Hospice, Blackpool run an internal advanced communications course for qualified and unqualified nursing staff working across inpatient and community settings. Groups of up to 8 participants undertake role play with a facilitator and an actor, using commonly encountered communication scenarios. This project assessed the impact of the course on participants’ confidence in communicating in difficult situations and the emotional burden associated with undertaking the course.
Methods Pre- and post-course questionnaires were filled in by all participants, and then retrospectively analysed.
Results 45 people were trained over 18 months, including 27 qualified and 18 unqualified staff-members. 1 questionnaire was incompletely filled out giving a total sample of 44.
84% of participants described negative emotions (e.g. nervous, unsure) before the course.
82% described positive emotions (e.g. relaxed, confident, energised) after the course.
50% of participants showed improvement in confidence in a challenging conversation with a patient or relatives
68% showed improvement in confidence in a challenging conversation with a colleague.
50% showed improvement in confidence in handling strong emotions.
34% showed improvement in confidence in identifying a patient or relative’s concerns.
59% showed improvement in confidence in challenging problematic behaviour by a patient or relative.
98% of the participants reported that the course had met their needs, and scored the course as being interesting, informative, useful, enjoyable, respectful and safe.
Conclusion The subjective response to the course was positive, with a shift from negative to positive emotional responses. At least half of participants improved in all but one area of communication. We feel this project supports the validity of the advanced communication skills course for development of confidence in challenging areas of communication, for both qualified and unqualified nursing staff.
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