The purpose of this study was to determine what problems beginning students of nursing have in establishing initial patient communication. A questionnaire was utilized to obtain the data.

The responses revealed that various feelings were experienced by the students when making the initial contact and establishing a communication with the patient. In most of the beginning contacts the students felt confident and at ease. Immediately following the initial contact the responses indicated that the students retained most of the positive feelings.

Some negative feelings were also experienced by the students during the initial contact. In most of these instances the students felt apprehensive. The students retained many of the negative feelings immediately following the initial contact.

There were factors noted in the responses which could be identified as indicative of a positive (successful) or negative (unsuccessful) communication. In some responses it was not determined if the communication had been positive or negative. In these instances they were classified as mixed-neutral communications.

It was noted in the responses that when the students were comfortable in a situation no problems were noted and communications were considered positive. If the students were uncomfortable in the situation problems were noted and communications were considered negative.

There were twelve main problems which the students encountered or experienced when making the initial contact. These were when the student (1) was afraid of irritating the patient who was uncomfortable, (2) did not want to disturb a very ill patient, (3) did not desire to communicate with a demanding patient, (4) was uncomfortable and reluctant to be with a complaining patient, (5) felt inadequate and resentful when the patient was unappreciative, (6) was unable to relax because of the patient's age, (7) uncomfortable and afraid because the patient was unpleasant, (8) could not handle the situation or say the correct thing when the patient felt sorry for himself, (9) was embarrassed because the patient discussed his personal problems, (1) did not wish to appear inadequate or uninformed, (11) did not like the patient, and (12) concentrated on procedures because of insecurity in nursing knowledge or skills.

LLU Discipline





Graduate Studies

First Advisor

Anabelle Mills

Second Advisor

R. Maureen Maxwell

Third Advisor

Howard Foster Maxon

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Nurse-Patient Relations; Students, Nursing



Page Count

iv; 62

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives

Included in

Nursing Commons