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8 Therapeutic Communication Techniques to be Learned by Nursing Students

8 Therapeutic Communication Techniques to be Learned by Nursing Students

Every patient needs not just treatment but also quality care. As nurses, you must take care of your patients. Bring them their medicines, record their medical history and symptoms, perform diagnostic tests, operate medical equipment, and so forth. But as nurses, your responsibilities are not just limited to those tasks. It would be best if you did another thing to help them receive the quality care they need, which we call therapeutic communication. According to Roscoe, L. (2021), “Therapeutic communication is defined as the face-to-face process of interaction that focuses on advancing the physical and emotional well-being of a patient. Nurses use therapeutic communication techniques to provide education and support to patients while maintaining objectivity and professional distance.”

Here are some therapeutic communication techniques you need to learn as an aspiring nurse;

1. State Desired Behaviors

Your patient needs to know that someone appreciates their efforts. That someone should be you as a nurse. Make her realize that she is improving so that you are not condescending to them. Instead of saying, “I saw you eating by yourself!” you can say, “I saw you enjoying the food your friend brought here!” In that way, the patient will not have self-pity. Instead, they will realize that he’s improving and that someone appreciates it.

2. Ask Open-ended Questions

This will help you to have a more extended conversation with the patient. Asking open-ended questions will make the patient think, and it will make him share his thoughts and perceptions about the thing you’re asking. In that way, you can observe or assess his behaviors and thinking abilities.

3. Be an Active Listener

The word itself, therapeutic communication, needs interaction between you and your patient. If he is saying something, show him that you are paying attention and listening well. You can nod if you’re agreeing, you can show facial expressions based on what’s said. In that way, the patient will know that you are interested in talking with him. It helps them lighten the burdens they have.

4. Focus

This one is for both sides of you. As a nurse, you need to focus on what the patient is saying because you need to observe and assess him. You should not forget even the most minor information, he said. You can take notes but make sure that it’s not annoying to him. On the other hand, you also need your patient to focus. He may get overwhelmed and then change the topic from time to time. It would help if you took him back to what he said a while ago.

5. Treat Silence as a Part of Communicating

There are times when all you need to do is listen to your patient silently. Sometimes, your patient doesn’t need advice. He needs an ear that will listen and understand him. To do this, maintain eye contact or facial expressions that show interest.

6. Give and Make Him Understand All the Information

Providing all the information about his condition will help the patient reduce anxiety. You mustn’t be just informing him. You also need to make him understand his situation because if not, he may panic, which may worsen his condition. Explaining every information to the patient, including what he needs to do, will make him understand everything. This may also build the trust you need from your patient.

7. Encourage Formulation of Action Plan

Encourage your patient to have an action plan that can improve his condition. Your patient may have a bad habit that worsens his sickness. If so, you need to make him encouraged that he needs to stop it. You can also share ideas about starting good habits to help the patient’s condition be better.

8. Offer Your Presence

This can summarize all the therapeutic techniques you need for your patients. Offering your presence also offers your effort, strength, interest, and time to them. It’s almost presenting yourself and everything you can do to help them recover and heal with the sickness they have. Your presence is significant to your patient because, in that way, he will realize that someone is there to help, to listen, to cheer up, and to make him believe that he will be fine. This will help the patient for his faster recovery.


In conclusion, therapeutic communication will be one of your challenging tasks in the future when you are already a nurse. But this is also one of the best and most effective ways to help your patient. These techniques were just a few. You will learn more through studying, learning, and practicing. Therapeutic communication is a hard thing to do. But if you love your work and your future patients, you can do it successfully.


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