Patient-Nurse Communication through the Voices of Interpreters in Operation Iraqi Freedom

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Teresa W. Ryan, DNS
81st MDG, United States Air Force, Biloxi, MS
Beth Norton, RN, DNP
RN to BSN Program, Northwest Florida State College, Niceville, FL

Learning Objective 1: describe how the inability to communicate through oral and written communication impacts nurse and patient interaction.

Learning Objective 2: discuss specific challenges to using the nursing process in patient care in a military trauma hospital.

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to describe how the nursing process is conducted by military nurses providing care to patients in Operation Iraqi Freedom when linguistic communication is made through an interpreter. Communication is a key component of the nursing process and facilitates assessment of a  patient, exploring care options with patients, education of patients, and evaluating the effectiveness of nursing care. Language barriers present significant challenges to nursing care. The use of interpreters is necessary to allow some form of communication between nurses and their patients but the process of organizing nursing care while relying on interpreters for linguistic communication has not been fully explained or explored.

Methods: The grounded theory method of Corbin & Strauss will be used to analyze interviews with military nurses who have deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and who have used interpreters to communicate with their patients. Purposive sampling will be used to recruit nurses who have knowledge of the phenomenon. Upon obtaining informed consent, the researchers will conduct semi-structured individual interviews. The transcripts of those interviews will be coded and key elements of the phenomenon categorized in order to formulate a substantive theory of how nurses organize their care when interpreters are used for communicating with patients.

Results: This study is on-going and final results are not yet available.

Conclusion: No conclusions have yet been drawn from the data.