Communication 101

Expressions of empathy can gain feelings of trust between nurse and client, creating a strong rapport that develops the basis of a therapeutic relationship. To effectively display attributes of empathy, one must have the aesthetics to perceive another's current feelings, communicate the understanding and be non-judgemental. It is essential to establish a mutual trust and practice self-disclosure appropriately. To be able to explain the concept of empathy to another person, one must first understand its meaning. Merriam-Webster (2014) defines empathy as 'the feeling that you understand and share another person's experiences and emotions'. Developing and implying empathy into everyday practise, aids in developing a therapeutic relationship with ones client. Therefore enhancing the effectiveness of treatment.  
Conveying empathy toward ones client in the healthcare setting contributes immensely in establishing a therapeutic relationship. By ways of definition, empathy is seen as different from sympathy, though often both terms become confused or misinterpreted. Davis (2009), states that 'sympathy is classically defined as an emotional response to the suffering of another'. Whereas empathy is the ability to 'feel with' or understand the circumstances of a person's experience without associating vivid feelings from prior personal experience (Funnell, Koutoukidis and Lawrence 2005, p. 450). In other words, a midwife may express traits of empathy toward a grieving mother who has just lost a baby, having been in similar situations and associated the feelings between events. Even more so, having experienced this circumstance herself, means the compassion is heightened. Perceiving another's current feelings is interpreting them within yourself, then communicating that comprehension to the client which demonstrates a concise understanding that displays an empathetic response.
Effective communication skills in nursing are a desirable attribute. If a nurse has the ability to...