AW-05. On the importance of communication skills in working with critically ill patients
Tatyana M. Semchishina
Dmitry Rogachev National Medical Research Center of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Immunology, Moscow, Russia
Contact: Tatyana M. Semchishina, phone: +7 (903) 208-72-12, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The work of a nurse at the intensive care and critical care unit entails, on one hand, direct and close contact with the patient and their family. On the other hand, it is characterized by a range of objective and subjective limitations in communicating with them. Professional standards do not include communication skills as a part of the necessary knowledge and skills for nurses, and educational standards, in our opinion, do not pay sufficient attention to this issue. Life-threatening and critical conditions generate fear, anxiety, and a sense of helplessness in patients and their relatives, while also requiring maximum involvement, multitasking, psychological flexibility, and high stress tolerance from the nurses working with them. Under such conditions, difficulties and conflicts can arise between the medical staff and patients, and the consequences of silence and ineffective communication can be fatal. Resolving this contradiction lies, in our opinion, in the realm of interpersonal relationships, the readiness and determination of each individual specialist to consider communication as an important component of their work, to be open to discussion, collaboration, and finding solutions to non-standard situations to the benefit of the patient and the medical community.
The death of a critically ill child is a tragic, traumatizing, and unnatural event that is accompanied by intense emotional experiences. For a nurse working in the intensive care unit, particularly with patients in the oncology and hematology field, such a death is not only a personal loss and someone else’s pain, but also a part of the job that requires specific actions and procedures. Death affects and makes vulnerable not only the medical staff but, first and foremost, the parents who have lost a child, other pediatric patients, and their family members. How do they perceive and react to death? What can we, as nurses, do within our scope of practice to express sympathy? What can we rely on and how can we help?
The report consists of reflections and examples from practice regarding the question of how an ICU nurse can maintain their humanity and show compassion while remaining a professional.
Critical care, children, medical nurse, communicative skills.