Nurse Education Today
Effective communication is an essential part of nursing care. Nurses need to effectively communicate with patients, families, providers and staff. The purpose of this study was to show how the use of technology (i.e., video conferencing on an electronic device) could assist nursing students to gain more confidence and reduce anxiety when discussing difficult topics such as sexual intimacy.
Pre-licensure nursing students were recruited to participate as part of regular class activities. A pre- and post-survey asking about their confidence and anxiety in communicating with patients was completed; then subjects were randomly placed into groups of 4 to 5 utilizing an electronic device. Student groups were able to communicate with a patient diagnosed with a medical condition that affected their intimacy by video conferencing in a breakout session for 15-20 min.
A total of 112 students participated. The majority of students stated that communicating about relationships and intimacy issues with chronically ill patients was not as difficult as they anticipated. About 82% of students liked using a video conferencing tool although about half (n = 62) reported they still preferred a face-to-face in-person interaction. Results demonstrated a significant increase in confidence and decrease in anxiety score (p = .001) before and after the intimacy communication activity.
In conclusion, the use of technology can be an effective learning tool to teach pre-licensure nursing students on how to communicate with patients effectively, especially for those difficult topics such as sexual intimacy.
Sexual health, Technology, Nursing students, Communication, Chronic illness
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Sheri Rickman Patrick and Alice Butzlaff. "By utilizing technology can nursing students gain more confidence and decrease anxiety when communicating with chronically ill patients about their sexual relationship?" Nurse Education Today (2021). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nedt.2021.105084