Health Dialogue Elements Identified during Health Communication between Nurses and Patients

  • Lesley Talbot Research student University Free State, Bloemfontein. South Africa.
  • Marianne Reid University of the Free State, South Africa
  • Mariette Nel University of the Free State
Keywords: health communication, health dialogue elements, nurses, patient-centred health care


Nurse-patient communication is an essential component of patient-centred health care that improves health outcomes and is characterised by health dialogue sanctioning mutual participation of both parties. This article reports on a study that aimed to identify the use of health dialogue elements during nurse-patient communication. A quantitative, descriptive, cross-sectional research design was used. The data was collected using the Observational Checklist of Health Dialogue Elements (OCHDE). The population comprised nurses (N=89) and adult diabetic patients in their care in a local municipality in Northern Cape, South Africa. Proportional sampling of public and private health facilities (n=16) was followed by convenience sampling of nurses (n=22). Descriptive statistics were calculated per group, comparing the nurse and patient responses per health dialogue element. The use of health dialogue elements during nurse-patient communication was diverse with an inconsistent display of antecedents, namely, a positive attitude (71.4%) and sensitivity and respect (41.7%) during communication. Regarding the antecedent element, training, the nurses displayed inadequate training in diabetes (19.3%) and in communication skills (30.6%). The patients received more diabetes training (48.7%) than the nurses, but their communication skills training (3.4%) was low. However, both the nurses and patients perceived the empirical referents, namely, shared responsibility/decision-making (67%, 68.2%), a health plan of mutual benefit (79.5%, 81.6%), and the use of context-sensitive communication strategies (73.6%, 67.8%). The inconsistent presence of antecedents and the reported presence of empirical referents indicates a need for further research and capacity building of nurses and patients.

How to Cite
Talbot, Lesley, Marianne Reid, and Mariette Nel. 2020. “Health Dialogue Elements Identified During Health Communication Between Nurses and Patients”. Africa Journal of Nursing and Midwifery 22 (1), 18 pages.