Background: Nursing students frequently experience offensive behaviour and communication problems with patients, clinical supervisors, and nursing and faculty staff. A communication training was developed based on connecting communication to prevent and manage conflict, and build interpersonal trust-based relationships.
Objectives: Feasibility study to evaluate the acceptability, demand, implementation, integration, and limited efficacy of a training based on connecting communication within a nursing curriculum.
Design: Mixed method design.
Participants: Third-year nursing students (n = 24).
Setting: A Dutch Bachelor of Nursing degree programme in Rotterdam.
Methods: Between November 2019 and March 2020, data were collected from students and trainers, using quantitative and qualitative methods. Feasibility aspects, including limited efficacy testing, were measured with pre- and post-training surveys. Descriptive statistical analyses and (non)parametric tests were used to analyse feasibility aspects and baseline and follow-up scores for empathy, self-compassion, and exposure to violence. In addition, reflection reports of students and two paired interviews with the two trainers were analysed using qualitative content analysis with a deductive approach.
Results: The post-training survey and reflection reports showed a positive assessment of the training on acceptability, demand, and integration. Students rated the training as helpful in improving their communication skills and in dealing with conflict situations. Furthermore, they recommended to implement the training in earlier years of the educational programme. According to the trainers, miscommunication, students' lack of preparation for lessons, and the timing of the training prohibited full participation in the training. The pretest-posttest survey results show statistically significant improved self-compassion (3.77 vs. 4.10; p = 0.03) and decreased self-judgement (4.21 vs. 3.50; p = 0.03). Empathy and exposure to violence did not change.
Conclusions: From the perspective of nursing students and trainers involved, this 10-week training based on connecting communication is feasible to implement in the Bachelor of Nursing degree programme, preferably before clinical placements.
Keywords: Empathy; Intervention; Nonviolent communication; Nursing education; Nursing students; Offensive behaviour; Self-compassion; Violence.
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