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3.1 Therapeutic Communication and Relationships

Communication is an art and a science. The facets of communication—sender, message, channel or mode, recipient, feedback—are consistent, but the human component brings in other considerations like emotions, nonverbal cues, and boundaries. The nurse must continually strive to communicate in a therapeutic manner and avoid common obstacles like inattention, false encouragement, and infringing on physical, emotional, and social boundaries. The nurse must also learn to reflect on the interactions with clients to improve their active listening skills and nonverbal communication and enhance their compassion.

3.2 Client Perception of Illness

Mental health and mental illness are complex and have many dimensions, in part because of beliefs and attitudes toward the topics. Many clients have formed their beliefs from the cultures in which they were raised as children and from their adult experiences. When a client is experiencing a mental illness, the perceptions of mental health treatments can be the driving force behind whether or not the client seeks help and/or complies with treatment. Education is one of the most important ways to influence perceptions and beliefs. Nurses are responsible to help educate on mental health and should take an active part in this mission.

3.3 Nursing Assessment and Clinical Tools

The nurse should conduct physical and psychosocial assessments with psychiatric clients. The psychosocial assessment includes questions about the client’s environment, lifestyle, and mood and encourages the client to express their problems. The Clinical Judgment Measurement Model, also addressed in this section, provides a framework for understanding the client needs, how to prioritize their needs, and how to put in place interventions to meet the needs and evaluate the outcomes.


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