Applying communication skills in the provision of family-centred care: a reflective account
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Applying communication skills in the provision of family-centred care: a reflective account

Lucinda Mary King Children’s nursing student, Bournemouth University, Bournemouth, England
Andrea Lacey Lecturer and unit lead for fundamental communication skills, Bournemouth University, Bournemouth, England
Jane Hunt Retired, former senior lecturer in children’s and young people’s nursing, Bournemouth University, Bournemouth, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To enhance your knowledge of communication techniques that assist in building therapeutic relationships

  • To acknowledge how reflection on action can contribute to improved care and make it more family centred

  • To recognise the need for students and newly registered nurses to nurture their communication skills

Providing family-centred care is fundamental to children’s nursing and requires the development of therapeutic relationships with parents, notably parents of children who are acutely unwell. Gaining parents’ trust and engaging them in their child’s care involves the use of optimal verbal and non-verbal communication techniques. Children’s nursing students need to develop skills and confidence in using these techniques.

This article is a reflective account by a children’s nursing student on how communication concepts and techniques learned at university can be applied to practice. The student had undertaken a theoretical and practical communication module during which she had been introduced to techniques such as active listening and the SURETY model shortly before starting a practice placement in an acute care setting. Here she uses the ‘What?, So what?, Now what?’ framework to reflect on and learn from her placement. The article demonstrates how complementing theoretical knowledge with experiential learning, and combining this with reflection on action, can enhance students’ confidence to deliver family-centred care.

Nursing Children and Young People. doi: 10.7748/ncyp.2021.e1388

Peer review

This article has been subject to open peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software


Conflict of interest

None declared

King LM, Lacey A, Hunt JA (2021) Applying communication skills in the provision of family-centred care: a reflective account. doi: 10.7748/ncyp.2021.e1388

Published online: 06 December 2021

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