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An Interprofessional Communication Training Program to Improve Nurses’ Ability to Communicate With Stroke Patients With Communication Disorders

Chu, Charlene H., PhD, RN, GNC(c)1,2; Sorin-Peters, Riva, PhD, Reg CASLPO, SLP(c), CCC-SLP3; Sidani, Souraya, PhD, RN4; De La Huerta, Bronwen, MHSc, SLP(C), Reg. CASLPO5; McGilton, Katherine S., PhD, RN1,2

doi: 10.1097/rnj.0000000000000041

Purpose The aim of the study was to evaluate change in nurses’ knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors after an Interprofessional (IP) Communication Training Program designed to improve nurses’ ability to communicate with stroke rehabilitation inpatients with communication disorders.

Design/Methods A quasi-experimental longitudinal study was conducted to evaluate an IP Communication Training Program consisting of a full-day and booster workshop and speech language pathologist support for nurses. The Communication Impairment Questionnaire and the Providers Interactional Comfort Survey were collected prior to and 3 months and 1 year postintervention. Focus groups assessing program acceptability were conducted.

Results Forty-six nurses participated. The Communication Impairment Questionnaire significantly improved postintervention (p = .001), but not at 1 year follow-up (3.76, p = .123). The Providers Interactional Comfort Survey significantly improved postintervention (p = .001) and remained significant 1 year later (8.84, p = .03). Focus groups indicated high acceptability and reported that the education increased their confidence and reduced their frustration.

Conclusion Nurses’ attitudes toward and knowledge about communication strategies improved, which enhances their ability to care for stroke patients with communication disorders.

Clinical Relevance Interdisciplinary workshops and speech language pathologist support appear beneficial to nurses working with patients with communication disorders.

1 Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

2 Toronto Rehabilitation Institute–University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

3 Revive Speech Therapy, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

4 Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing, Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

5 Providence Healthcare, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Correspondence: Charlene H. Chu, PhD, RN, GNC(c), Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto, Suite 130, 155 College Street, Toronto, ON M5T 1P8, Canada. E-mail:

Cite this article as: Chu, C. H., Sorin-Peters, R., Sidani, S., De La Huerta, B., & McGilton, K. S. (2018). An interprofessional communication training program to improve nurses’ ability to communicate with stroke patients with communication disorders. Rehabilitation Nursing, 43(6), E25–E34. doi: 10.1097/rnj.0000000000000041

© 2018 Association of Rehabilitation Nurses.
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