Merging Innovations in Teach and Research: Emotional Self-Awareness Impact to Therapeutic Relationships

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Barbara Jayne Beebe, MN
College of Nursing, Washington State University College of Nursing, Yakima, WA, USA

Self-awareness encompasses several different aspects of nursing care such as therapeutic communication, non-verbal communication, self-reflection, recognition and understanding of one’s own thoughts, actions, beliefs and values. It embodies self-learning and knowing about one-self: one’s attitudes and beliefs, motivations, strengths and limitations. This knowing of one-self sets the template on how one interacts with others through communication, actions and non-verbal actions.

Many times nurses have found that in connections with others, they have felt drawn to or away from different patients and/or co-workers without the understanding behind these interactions. This is where emotional self-awareness becomes defined as a learning tool to implement better communication and understanding of that communication.

Emotional self-awareness in nursing is acknowledging those thoughts and feelings that come to mind within the first 3-5 seconds of meeting a new patient. These conscious, sub-conscious or unconscious thoughts predicts how the nurse will care for the patient thus establishing a relationship of caring and competency. These objective thoughts and feelings are vital in helping the nurse manage herself and the care that she will provide. It is through this insight of one’s own emotional self-awareness that will lead to greater competency, higher quality nursing care, more client satisfaction, and better patient outcomes.

This study was undertaken to evaluate the impact of emotional self-awareness on communication in the health care environment. Communication is appreciated as essential in maintaining therapeutic relationships in health care. Emotional self-awareness has been identified as recognizing personal thoughts or feelings that may influence communication and relationships. The core values of effective communication and emotional self-awareness are vital elements for nursing students to learn and understand as they advance in mastering nursing competencies. The participants engaged in a one day workshop involving equine. They were asked to complete a pre-activity survey, to journal their thoughts and feelings during and after the experience, and to complete a post-activity survey immediately following the activity and at 3 months following the activity.