What is the most essential task for a nurse to accomplish prior to forming a therapeutic relationship with a client?
- Clarify personal attitudes, values, and beliefs.
- Obtain thorough assessment data.
- Determine the client’s length of stay.
- Establish personal goals for the interaction.
Rationale: The most essential task for a nurse to accomplish prior to forming a therapeutic relationship with a client is to clarify personal attitudes, values, and beliefs. Understanding one’s own attitudes, values, and beliefs is called self-awareness.
If a client demonstrates transference toward a nurse, how should the nurse respond?
- Promote safety and immediately terminate the relationship with the client.
- Encourage the client to ignore these thoughts and feelings.
- Immediately reassign the client to another staff member.
- Help the client to clarify the meaning of the relationship, based on the present situation
Rationale: The nurse should respond to a client’s transference by clarifying the meaning of the nurse-client relationship based on the present situation. Transference occurs when the client unconsciously displaces feelings about a person from the past toward the nurse. The nurse should assist the client in separating the past from the present.
What should be the priority nursing action during the orientation (introductory) phase of the nurse-client relationship?
- Acknowledge the client’s actions and generate alternative behaviors.
- Establish rapport and develop treatment goals.
- Attempt to find alternative placement.
- Explore how thoughts and feelings about this client may adversely impact nursing care.
Rationale: The priority nursing action during the orientation phase of the nurse-client relationship should be to establish rapport and develop treatment goals. Rapport implies feelings on the part of both the nurse and the client, based on respect, acceptance, a sense of trust, and a nonjudgmental attitude. It is the essential foundation of the nurse-client relationship.
Which client action should a nurse expect during the working phase of the nurse-client relationship?
- The client gains insight and incorporates alternative behaviors.
- The client establishes rapport with the nurse and mutually develops treatment goals.
- The client explores feelings related to reentering the community.
- The client explores personal strengths and weaknesses that impact behavioral choices.
Rationale: The nurse should expect that that the client will gain insight and incorporate alternative behaviors during the working phase of the nurse-client relationship. The client may also overcome resistance, problem-solve, and continually evaluate progress toward goals.
Which client statement should a nurse identify as a typical response to stress most often experienced in the working phase of the nurse-client relationship?
- “I can’t bear the thought of leaving here and failing.”
- “I might have a hard time working with you, because you remind me of my mother.”
- “I really don’t want to talk any more about my childhood abuse.”
- “I’m not sure that I can count on you to protect my confidentiality.”
Rationale: The nurse should identify that the client statement, “I really don’t want to talk any more about my childhood abuse,” reflects that the client is in the working phase of the nurse-client relationship. The working phase includes overcoming resistance behaviors on the part of the client as the level of anxiety rises in response to discussion of painful issues.
A mother who is notified that her child was killed in a tragic car accident states, “I can’t bear to go on with my life.” Which nursing statement conveys empathy?
- “This situation is very sad, but time is a great healer.”
- “You are sad, but you must be strong for your other children.”
- “Once you cry it all out, things will seem so much better.”
- “It must be horrible to lose a child, and I’ll stay with you until your husband arrives.”
Rationale: The nurse’s response, “It must be horrible to lose a child, and I’ll stay with you until your husband arrives,” conveys empathy to the client. Empathy is the ability to see the situation from the client’s point of view. Empathy is considered to be one of the most important characteristics of the therapeutic relationship.
When an individual is “two-faced,” which characteristic essential to the development of a therapeutic relationship should a nurse identify as missing?
Rationale: When an individual is “two-faced,” which means double-dealing or deceitful, the nurse should identify that genuineness is missing in the relationship. Genuineness refers to the nurse’s ability to be open and honest and maintain congruence between what is felt and what is communicated. When a nurse fails to bring genuineness to the relationship, trust cannot be established.
On which task should a nurse place priority during the working phase of relationship development?
- Establishing a contract for intervention
- Examining feelings about working with a particular client
- Establishing a plan for continuing aftercare
- Promoting the client’s insight and perception of reality
Rationale: The nurse should place priority on promoting the client’s insight and perception of reality during the working phase of relationship development. Establishing a contract for intervention would occur in the orientation phase. Examining feelings about working with a client should occur in the pre-interaction phase. Establishing a plan for aftercare would occur in the termination phase.
Which therapeutic communication technique is being used in the following nurse-client interaction?
Client: “My father spanked me often.”
Nurse: “Your father was a harsh disciplinarian.”
- Offering general leads
Rationale: The nurse is using the therapeutic communication technique of restatement. Restatement involves repeating the main idea of what the client has said. It allows the client to know whether the statement has been understood and provides an opportunity to continue.
Which therapeutic communication technique is being used in the following nurse-client interaction?
Client: “When I am anxious, the only thing that calms me down is alcohol.”
Nurse: “Other than drinking, what alternatives have you explored to decrease anxiety?”
- Making observations
- Formulating a plan of action
- Giving recognition
Rationale: The nurse is using the therapeutic communication technique of formulating a plan of action to help the client explore alternatives to drinking. The use of this technique may serve to prevent anger or anxiety from escalating.
The nurse is interviewing a newly admitted psychiatric client. Which of the following nursing statements is an example of offering a “general lead”?
- “Do you know why you are here?”
- “Are you feeling depressed or anxious?”
- “Yes, I see. Go on.”
- “Can you order the specific events that led to your admission?”
Rationale: The nurse’s statement, “Yes, I see. Go on,” is an example of a general lead. Offering general leads encourages the client to continue sharing information.
A nurse says to a client, “Things will look better tomorrow after a good night’s sleep.” This is an example of which communication technique?
- The therapeutic technique of giving advice
- The therapeutic technique of defending
- The nontherapeutic technique of presenting reality
- The nontherapeutic technique of giving reassurance
Rationale: The nurse’s statement, “Things will look better tomorrow after a good night’s sleep,” is an example of the nontherapeutic communication technique of giving reassurance. Giving reassurance indicates to the client that there is no cause for anxiety, thereby devaluing the client’s feelings.
A client diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder related to a rape is admitted to an inpatient psychiatric unit for evaluation and medication stabilization. Which therapeutic communication technique might a nurse use that is an example of “broad openings”?
- “What occurred prior to the rape, and when did you go to the emergency department?”
- “What would you like to talk about?”
- “I notice you seem uncomfortable discussing this.”
- “How can we help you feel safe during your stay here?”
Rationale: The nurse’s statement, “What would you like to talk about?” is an example of the therapeutic communication technique of a broad opening. Using broad openings allows the client to take the initiative in introducing the topic and emphasizes the importance of the client’s role in the interaction.
A nurse maintains an uncrossed arm and leg posture when communicating with a client. This nonverbal behavior is reflective of which letter of the SOLER acronym for active listening?
Rationale: The nurse should identify that maintaining an uncrossed arm and leg posture is nonverbal behavior that reflects the O in the active-listening acronym SOLER. The acronym SOLER includes sitting squarely facing the client (S), observing and open posture (O), leaning forward toward the client (L), establishing eye contact (E), and relaxing (R).
An instructor is correcting a nursing student’s clinical worksheet. Which instructor statement is the best example of effective feedback?
- “Why did you use the client’s name on your clinical worksheet?”
- “You were very careless to refer to your client by name on your clinical worksheet.”
- “Surely you didn’t do this deliberately, but you breeched confidentiality by using names.”
- “It is disappointing that after being told you’re still using client names on your worksheet.”
Rationale: The instructor’s statement, “Surely you didn’t do this deliberately, but you breeched confidentiality by using names,” is an example of effective feedback. Feedback is method of communication for helping others consider a modification of behavior. Feedback should be descriptive, specific, and directed toward a behavior that the person has the capacity to modify and should impart information rather than offer advice.
What is a nurse’s purpose for providing appropriate feedback?
- To give the client good advice
- To advise the client on appropriate behaviors
- To evaluate the client’s behavior
- To give the client critical information
Rationale: The purpose of providing appropriate feedback is to give the client critical information. Feedback should not be used to give advice or evaluate behaviors.
A client exhibiting dependent behaviors says, “Do you think I should move from my parent’s house and get a job?” Which nursing response is most appropriate?
- “It would be best to do that in order to increase independence.”
- “Why would you want to leave a secure home?”
- “Let’s discuss and explore all of your options.”
- “I’m afraid you would feel very guilty leaving your parents.”
Rationale: The most appropriate response by the nurse is, “Let’s discuss and explore all of your options.” In this example, the nurse is encouraging the client to formulate ideas and decide independently the appropriate course of action.
A mother rescues two of her four children from a house fire. In an emergency department, she cries, “I should have gone back in to get them. I should have died, not them.” What is the nurse’s best response?
- “The smoke was too thick. You couldn’t have gone back in.”
- “You’re experiencing feelings of guilt, because you weren’t able to save your children.”
- “Focus on the fact that you could have lost all four of your children.”
- “It’s best if you try not to think about what happened. Try to move on.”
Rationale: The best response by the nurse is, “You’re experiencing feelings of guilt, because you weren’t able to save your children.” This response uses the therapeutic communication technique of restating what the client has said. This lets the client know whether an expressed statement has been understood or if clarification is necessary.
A newly admitted client, diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), washes his hands continually. This behavior prevents unit activity attendance. Which nursing statement best addresses this situation?
- “Everyone diagnosed with OCD needs to control their ritualistic behaviors.”
- “It is important for you to discontinue these ritualistic behaviors.”
- “Why are you asking for help, if you won’t participate in unit therapy?”
- “Let’s figure out a way for you to attend unit activities and still wash your hands.”
Rationale: The most appropriate statement by the nurse is, “Let’s figure out a way for you to attend unit activities and still wash your hands.” This statement reflects the therapeutic communication technique of formulating a plan of action. The nurse attempts to work with the client to develop a plan without damaging the therapeutic relationship.
Which of the following characteristics should be included in a therapeutic nurse-client relationship? (Select all that apply.)
- Meeting the psychological needs of the nurse and the client
- Ensuring therapeutic termination
- Promoting client insight into problematic behavior
- Collaborating to set appropriate goals
- Meeting both the physical and psychological needs of the client
ANS: 2, 3, 4, 5
Rationale: The nurse-client therapeutic relationship should include promoting client insight into problematic behavior, collaboration to set appropriate goals, meeting the physical and psychological needs of the client, and ensuring therapeutic termination. Meeting the nurse’s psychological needs should never be addressed within the nurse-client relationship.
Which of the following individuals are communicating a message? (Select all that apply.)
- A mother spanking her son for playing with matches
- A teenage boy isolating himself and playing loud music
- A biker sporting an eagle tattoo on his biceps
- A teenage girl writing, “No one understands me”
- A father checking for new e-mail on a regular basis
ANS: 1, 2, 3, 4
Rationale: The nurse should determine that spanking, isolating, getting tattoos, and writing are all ways in which people communicate messages to others. It is estimated that about 70% to80% of communication is nonverbal.