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Building therapeutic communication skills for better patient care and satisfaction

March 31, 2022 | 2 min read

By Elsevier Connect contributors

Nurse talking with patient

The experience–complexity gap in nursing is growing

Do your novice nurses have the interpersonal communication skills they need to close the academic-to-practice gap?

First-year nurses are taking a big leap. And you know they’re under pressure – from managing stress to managing their time.

And while you’re working tirelessly to prep them for the realities of increasingly complex healthcare, the challenges just keep stacking up. To make matters worse, they’re facing evolving patient demands and protocols stemming from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its variants.

Dealing with these new situations can be overwhelming. The fact is your new grad nurses are still trying to become comfortable just communicating with patients and applying the skills they learned as students.

It’s no wonder that 35% of new nurses leave the profession within their first year [1].

The importance of communication in healthcare

Your new nurses’  communication skills may be underdeveloped, which is understandable—it takes hours of experience, along with a broad sample of patients and symptoms to become a savvy interviewer.

Without this experience, they’re likely to fail to cultivate the right motivational interviewing techniques, which means they could miss important observations and be unable to capture relevant data about a patient.

Safely transforming your nurses’ practice readiness

To level up their effectiveness, your novice nurses need a safe and realistic environment that fosters their confidence, so they can efficiently gather health history and disclosures.

With Shadow Health, your new graduate nurses can strengthen therapeutic communication skills through its patented conversation engine and high-fidelity simulations. Let’s dig into the details.

No scripted dialogue or multiple-choice options

Now, your nurses can communicate naturally – free from prompted dialogue - so  they can practice their interpersonal communication skills in a more natural way.

Digital patients with rich medical and personal histories

Conversation technology allows learners to develop critical thinking and build confidence in using motivational interviewing techniques.

Bring emotion back into the conversation

Your students will have opportunities to provide therapeutic communication to their patient in the form of empathetic or educational statements.


  1. Windey, M., Lawrence, C., Guthrie, K., Weeks, D., Sullo, E., & Chapa, D., “A Systematic Review on Interventions Supporting Preceptor Development,” Journal for Nurses in Professional Development, 31(6), (2015):312-323.doi: 10.1097/NND.0000000000000195(opens in new tab/window)


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Elsevier Connect contributors