communication in difficult situations

if you are tired, your patient is angry and in pain, and there are staff shortages on your shift, the encounter will be more difficult than if just one of those factors were present. accident and emergency departments are environments where circumstances conspire to create difficult conditions – long waiting times; people under the influence of alcohol or drugs; individuals in pain and distress – that can combine to create a ‘perfect storm’. warning signs of irritated or agitated behaviour could include: if patients are already known to you – inpatients on a psychiatric ward, for example – learn which triggers can result in violence and aggression for individuals, then work to avoid these. it can be difficult to react warmly to people who are aggressive when you try to help them, but staying in control of your own emotions – and body language – is vital.

difficult encounters can be de-escalated by employing communications strategies, yet good communication is often one of the first things to be abandoned in a challenging situation. consider asking what can be done to resolve the situation (lowry, 2016), or offering options: “would you like me to get a manager for you to speak to about your concerns?”. it is also important to respect personal space: standing too close could be seen as a threatening act, and it may also be safer for you to maintain a physical distance. nurse jones brings mrs smith a cup of tea and asks if she’d like to speak with the doctor; mrs smith leaves the ward regretting her initial hostile behaviour. consider whether you are the best person to deal with a particularly difficult situation (especially if you are newly qualified and inexperienced in managing challenging encounters).

people often find it easier to avoid communicating something that they think is going to be controversial or bad, putting off the communication and letting the situation fester. however, constantly putting off difficult communication situations often leads to feelings of frustration, guilt, annoyance with oneself, anger, a reduction in self-confidence and ultimately more stress and anxiety. although these situations are, by their nature, difficult they are controlled and as long as time has been taken to prepare and think properly about how others may react they can often end up being easier than imagined. managers in organisations may need to communicate difficult information on several levels, to staff who are underperforming or if redundancies are necessary. emotions are, however, a natural response to situations that we find ourselves in, and the only time that we need to be concerned is when we consistently feel emotions inappropriate to our current situation.

it is helpful to recognise how we react to things emotionally and to think of different ways in which emotions can be controlled if necessary. if possible it is beneficial to think about the positive side of the change and the potential opportunities that it may bring. try to anticipate any questions or concerns others may have and think carefully about how you will answer questions. we have several pages on assertiveness including, how to be more assertive and recognising why people are not assertive do not find yourself backing down or changing your mind mid conversation. speak clearly avoiding any jargon that other parties may not understand, give eye contact and try to sit or stand in a relaxed way. communication becomes easier when we are calm, take some deep breaths and try to maintain an air of calmness, others are more likely to remain calm if you do.

dealing with difficult conversations. there has to be a balance between communicating something difficult and being as preventing difficulties. good communication can help prevent challenging situations from developing. this article summarises problems, skills and situations where caregivers, patients , family face the difficulty to communicate, communication situation examples, communication situation examples, ways to manage challenging situations, do situation affect the communication, what makes communication difficult for you.

allow the consumer to voice his/her concerns. respond with acceptance and understanding. be empathetic. listen to informative conceptual presentations live demonstrations (by the instructor) using specific skills and processes skill effective communication in difficult situations: preventing stress and burnout in the nicu. early hum dev. 2009 oct, communicating in difficult situations in healthcare, types of communication situation, how to handle difficult situations, difficult communication in the workplace, give a communication situation, communication scenarios examples, 5 common communication situations, do situations affect the communication? how was the communication process shown in the videos?

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