EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION BETWEEN RADIOGRAPHERS AND PATIENTS: INFLUENCE ON SERVICE DELIVERY AND PATIENT SATISFACTION
One of the many radiographer responsibilities is to communicate with patients. After all, patients are the reason imaging professionals are employed. Radiographer-patient relationships can be strengthened and patient outcomes improved through improved effective verbal communication.1Imaging professionals have the responsibility to provide the best possible patient care, and proper verbal communication plays a large role in successful imaging interactions.1 Using open and honest communication, the radiographer can form a trusting relationship with patients and their families.2 The purpose of the study was to investigate the level of verbal communication between radiographers and patients, identify barriers to effective verbal communication and to assess the patient’s reaction to verbal communication in diagnostic radiology departments.
A quanlitative research study was conducted at three hospitals in Enugu, namely University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital Enugu, National Orthopedics Hospital Enugu and Enugu State University Teaching Hospital. Data collection took place by means of questionnaires that were distributed to 50 radiographers and 130 patients randomly selected directly after they had undergone radiographic examinations. Data analysis indicated the level of verbal communication, barriers to effective verbal communication and patient’s reaction to verbal communication. The overall conclusion drawn from the research is that majority of the patients, who participated in the study, indicated that the radiographers communicated with them effectively. Limitations of the study were identified and recommendations to enhance practice were made.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Title Page i
Approval Page iii
Table of Contents vi
List of table’s vii
List of figures viii
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.0 Background of Study
1.1 Statement of the Problem
1.2 Purpose of Study
1.3 Significance of the Study
1.4 Scope of the Study
1.5 Related literature review
CHAPTER TWO: THEORETICAL BACKGROUND
2.1 What is communication?
2.2 Effective communication
2.3 Types of communication
2.3.1 Verbal communication
2.3.2 Types of verbal communication
2.4 Patients Education
2.5 Goals of patient education
2.6 Barriers to communication
2.7 Improving communication with patients
CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
3.1 Research Design
3.2 Target Population
3.3 Sample Size and Sampling Technique
3.4 Subject criteria
3.5 Tool for Data Collection
3.6 Method of Data Collection
3.6.1 Procedures for data collection
3.7 Method of Data Analysis
CHAPTER FOUR: RESULTS
4.1 Data presentation
CHAPTER FIVE: DISCUSSION SUMMARY OF FINDINGS, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS.
5.1 Discussion of the Findings
5.1.1 Demographic Findings
5.2 Summary of findings
5.4 Limitations of the Study
5.5 Areas of Further Research
LIST OF TABLES
Table 1: Number of Radiographers from various Hospitals studied
Table 2: Age and sex distribution of radiographers in the three hospitals
Table 3: Educational qualification of radiographers.
Table 4: Radiographers Response on telling patients their names
Table 5: Age and sex distribution of patients in the three hospitals
Table 6: Shows the communication gap and relationship between the radiographers and patients
Table 7: Patient’s response on overall satisfaction with regards to the way the radiographer interacted with him/her
Table 8: Patient who indicated that the radiographer communicated effectively with them how they feel about it
Table 9: Shows the response of patients on if there is need for effective verbal communication in radiology department and improvement in the way radiographers talks to patients.
LIST OF FIGURES
Fig 1: Shows common request made by radiographers and the different response from patients based on the terminology used.
Fig 2: A bar chart showing number of radiographer against their number of years of work experience
Fig 3: Shows the likely cause of the radiographer not communicating effectively with the patients during the examination.
Communication (from Latin “communis”, meaning to share) is the activity of conveying information through the exchange of thoughts, messages, or information, as by speech, visuals, signals, writing, or behavior1. It can also be defined as the “process of cre¬ating meaning.”1 The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) and the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT) Code of Ethics outlines expectations for good communication practices in medical imaging2. Effective verbal communication is an absolute necessity at every stage in radiographic examination. Verbal communication, good or bad, affects in opposite ways and it has an immense potential for influencing the use of healthcare resources and finances on a grand scale.1 When surveyed, healthcare professionals (physi¬cians, nurses, radiographers) cite “lack of time” as the chief reason for not talking more to patients. However, researchers have found that professionals who verbally commu¬nicate effectively with their patient spend no more time, per patient, than those professionals who report feeling “too rushed to spend time talking3”. Some studies have shown that total examination time actually decreased as verbal communication increased.3 Health outcomes also depend on the extent to which patients adhere to the procedures being explained to them.
Effective verbal communication includes the display of professional conduct, an attitude of respect toward other professionals and the patient and the responsibility to act as a patient advocate through all aspects of the patient’s care. Radiographers are frequently responsible for acting as patient advocates, taking patient histories, providing instructions for fasting before contrast studies and explaining post examination care clearly in a way and language the patient will understand.4 Thus, it is important that Radiographers give explicit instructions, answer questions promptly and completely, coordinate patient care efficiently and work together with the patient.
This responsibility includes being thorough in their questioning and ensuring the patient understands all instructions. Meyer 3 suggested asking specific instead of general questions, such as “Are you taking any prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications or any herbal supplements?” instead of “Are you taking any drugs?” When a patient is unable to answer questions or comprehend instructions, the patient’s family or guardian should be involved in both the history-taking and the decision-making processes. By encouraging family participation, feelings of stress and frustration toward staff are reduced and system dysfunction is less frequent. Like anyone else, radiographers can be unhappy, short-tempered, rushed and interrupted, ignorant on some subjects, or charmless.
Evidence is that healthcare fails without a conscious informed effort of communication which is the personal and professional responsibility of everyone concerned with the care of the sick.3
Improved communication between patient and healthcare providers results in patients who are happier with their overall healthcare experience.5-9
Patients want to play an active role in discussing their treatment, and they want to understand the benefits of different diagnostic and therapeutic options. They need to have their questions answered.10 Patients also express a desire to have interactions that feel personal, caring, and respectful. They want med¬ical professionals (Radiographers) to relate to them as people.
Although research has been conducted on the attitudes of radiographers towards their patients, but no research has been done on effective verbal communication especially in Enugu metropolis. This study aimed to assess the level of verbal communication between radiographers and patients, to identify barriers to effective verbal communication and patient’s reaction to towards effective verbal communication.