‘Are we on the same wavelength?’ International nurses and the process of confronting and adjusting to clinical communication in Australia

Authors

  • Tonia Crawford Macquarie University
  • Peter Roger Macquarie University
  • Sally Candlin Macquarie University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/cam.28953

Keywords:

adjustment, cultural and linguistic diversity, health communication, nurse–patient communication, intercultural communication

Abstract

Effective communication skills are important in the health care setting in order to develop rapport and trust with patients, provide reassurance, assess patients effectively and provide education in a way that patients easily understand (Candlin and Candlin, 2003). However with many nurses from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds being recruited to fill the workforce shortfall in Australia, communication across cultures with the potential for miscommunication and ensuing risks to patient safety has gained increasing focus in recent years (Shakya and Horsefall, 2000; Chiang and Crickmore, 2009). This paper reports on the first phase of a study that examines intercultural nurse patient communication from the perspective of four Registered Nurses from CALD backgrounds working in Australia. Five interrelating themes that were derived from thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews are discussed. The central theme of ‘adjustment’ was identified as fundamental to the experiences of the RNs and this theme interrelated with each of the other themes that emerged: professional experiences with communication, ways of showing respect, displaying empathy, and vulnerability.

Author Biographies

Tonia Crawford, Macquarie University

Tonia Crawford is a Registered Nurse and a PhD candidate with the linguistics department, Macquarie University. She is examining intercultural communication between Registered Nurses from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds with their patients in the Australian health care setting. She is also a lecturer in the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Sydney.

Peter Roger, Macquarie University

Peter Roger is Senior Lecturer in Linguistics at Macquarie University. He studies medicine at the University of Sydney and worked as a medical practitioner for several years before going on to complete a PhD in communication sciences and disorders. He is co-author (with Sally Candlin) of Communication and Professional Relationships in Healthcare Practice (Equinox, 2013).

Sally Candlin, Macquarie University

Dr Sally Candlin is Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the Linguistics Department at Macquarie University. Her current research interests lie in the areas of teaching and learning, and nurse patient interactions. She has authored Therapeutic Communication (Pearson, 2008) and co-authored (with Peter Roger) Communication and Professional Relationships in Healthcare Practice (Equinox, 2013).

Published

2017-06-16

How to Cite

Crawford, T., Roger, P., & Candlin, S. (2017). ‘Are we on the same wavelength?’ International nurses and the process of confronting and adjusting to clinical communication in Australia. Communication and Medicine, 13(3), 263–274. https://doi.org/10.1558/cam.28953

Issue

Section

Articles