The Importance Of Active Listening Skills In Mental Health Nursing

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After the knowledge and education is gained by health professionals caring for someone who is experiencing a mental health crisis, selected skills that are very useful in crises are needed. These skills may include de-escalation techniques and listening skills. As individuals in mental health crises are at higher risk for being aggressive as 70-90% of mental health staff experience some form of aggression from mental health service users, de-escalation techniques are essential to have (Gunenc, O 'Shea and Dickens, 2015). De-escalation skills are skills that involve the use of verbal and non-verbal communication skills that portray the expression of empathy, alliance and respect to the individual (National Institute for Clinical Excellence, …show more content…
Active listening is a skill that requires the health professional to listen intentionally you understand what someone is saying, learn something, and to give help and support from what they are saying. If this is done effectively then skills such as paraphrasing what the individual said will be easier to do if active listening is done correctly as well as being empathetic (Gregory, 2015). Happell, Palmer and Tennent (2011) did a study to find out what skills were beneficial to have in mental health nursing from the nurse’s perspective and good listening skills was one of the top results. Nurses in the study stated that being able to listen to clients’ needs and goals effectively provided the nurses with more effective solutions and outcomes with more client involvement in their own care. This is especially important in a mental health crisis as it provides an opportunity for the individual to express feelings and thoughts and then work with the health professional to identify needs and goals. They also said that listening rather than acting helped to support nurses own beliefs and values with less contradiction with the individual’s beliefs and values. Overall, both studies showed that having good actively listening skills helps benefit the client as well as the nurses by providing improved health outcomes and goals as well as protecting nurses owns beliefs and values. Both active listening and de-escalation techniques should be learnt by mental health nurses so that when a mental health crisis occurs they can provide the best level of care with the most desired health outcome achieved for the

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