The nurse patient relationship is central to the delivery of nursing care. By use of verbal and non verbal communication skills, nurses can offer the three core conditions of all therapeutic relationships to patients – empathetic understanding, acceptance and genuineness. This essay will discuss the three core conditions of effective helping skills. These three core conditions of effective helping skills are; genuineness, acceptance (unconditional positive regard) and empathy. It will focus on the importance of empathy in its application to the nurse patient relationship.
Genuineness can be described as being real and honest with other people. For genuineness to be an effective helping skill, the nurse must be able to communicate honestly with the patient (Tamparo, 2000). Egan (1990), cited in French (1994), states that the “offer of help must not be phoney.” and that the nurse “can’t hide behind the role of the counsellor.” Genuineness can be communicated by following some guidelines suggested by Egan (1990). These are; not overemphasizing the helping role, being spontaneous, avoiding defensiveness, being consistent and becoming comfortable with the behaviour that helps the patient.
      Rogers explains that being genuine “involves the willingness to be and to express in my words and behaviour, the various feelings and attitudes which exist in me…it is only by providing the genuine reality which is in me that the other person can successfully seek for the reality in him.” Therefore it is important for nurses to be genuine when communicating with the patient as this invites them to consider their own feelings and thoughts and what these are telling the nurse about themselves, the patient and the patient’s situation.
      Acceptance (unconditional positive regard) is seen as a “deep and genuine caring for the client as a person. The caring is unconditional” (Corey, 2001). Acceptance also means that no matter what the patient thinks or feels about the...