Hospitalization of a family member (especially in the emergency department) causes anxiety and other psychological problems in the other family members. Interaction of nurses with the patients and their family members may play a key role in the control and management of their anxiety. The present study aimed to determine the correlation between the anxiety of the family members of the patients referring to the emergency department and their views on the communication skills of nurses.
This cross-sectional, descriptive-correlational study was conducted on 263 family members of the patients referring to the emergency departments of two teaching hospitals affiliated to Iran University of Medical Sciences in Tehran, Iran in 2019. The subjects were selected via continuous sampling based on the inclusion criteria. Data were collected using Beck's anxiety inventory (BAI) and health care communication questionnaire (HCCQ). Data analysis was performed using SPSS version 22 using Pearson's correlation-coefficient, independent t-test, analysis of variance (ANOVA), and Kruskal-Wallis test at the significance level of 0.05.
The mean score of the communication skills of emergency department nurses was low (36.74±7.3), and 75.3% of the family members of the patients had mild anxiety. However, no significant correlations were observed between the communication skills of nurses and the dimensions with the anxiety level of the patient companions. Anxiety was associated with the education level (P=0.039), economic status (P=0.033), and family relation with the patient (P=0.001). Moreover, the mean score of anxiety was significantly higher in the children of the patients compared to their spouses (P=0.008), and patient triage level was also significantly correlated with anxiety (P<0.001).
According to the results, the family members of most of the patients referring to the emergency department experienced mild anxiety. In the viewpoint of the subjects, emergency department nurses had poor communication skills. Although no significant association was denoted between the anxiety of the patients’ family members and their views on the communication skills of nurses, the poor communication skills of nurses from the perspective of the subjects requires special attention. Our findings could provide the necessary background for planning to improve the communication skills of nurses, as well as their skills to control the anxiety of patient caregivers through in-service training or other incentive mechanisms.
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