Effects of interpersonal skills training on nurse aides' client care

Carpenter, Miriam
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The purpose of this study was to determine whether nurse aide students who received 8 hours of didactic/experiential training in interpersonal skills would learn and use them effectively in offering patient care.

Forty-four volunteer students from six classes were designated as experimental, while 73 volunteers from six other classes were designated as comparison. The samples primarily included females of diverse ethnicities between the ages of 18 and 47.

Pre- and posttest instruments were administered to the experimental and comparison groups. The first two were self-assessments designed to explore interpersonal skills, self-knowledge, and the attitudes and feelings of nurse aides toward clients in a nursing home. A checklist to evaluate the use of interpersonal skills in the clinical area was completed by the students' practicum supervisor and a 1-month follow-up on-site observation report was completed by the employer to evaluate the use of interpersonal skills on the job.

A pilot study was conducted to validate instruments and the procedures. This study was guided by five hypotheses which stated there would be a significant difference between experimental and comparison groups in these areas: (1) Attitudes toward clients. (2) Ability to communicate effective levels of interpersonal skills. (3) Ability to communicate effective levels of interpersonal skills. (4) Interpersonal skills utilized in clinical nursing performance. (5) Employer follow-up ratings of client care.

Significant differences were not found for the first three hypotheses. Part of the reason could be that the nurse aide students reported high positive attitudes in the pretest. Significant differences were found for the remaining two hypotheses.

It was concluded that nurse aides who had received specific training in interpersonal skills more frequently used them in patient care than did the comparison group they were rated higher in on-the-job performance. The study supported the need for research and development of nurse aide interpersonal skills training as a matter of priority for health care educators and researchers.

Health and environmental sciences, Education, Health worker education, Interpersonal skill training