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The importance of role-play in nursing practice

Fotoula P. Babatsikou, Georgia K. Gerogianni

Background: A role-play situation is designed to reflect the interaction between a care provider and a patient in order to implement the expected therapeutic outcome. The most important themes derived from a role-play situation are understanding, self-disclosure and trust, respect, truth telling and honesty, power and interpersonal conflicts, empowerment and support, reflective thoughts. Method and Material: Literature review based on studies and reviews derived from international (Medline, PubMed, Cinahl, Scopus) and Greek (Iatrotek) data bases concerning nurse-patient relationship in the context of therapeutic communication, using the following key words: Role play, interaction, communication skills, patient, therapeutic outcome Results: The issue of understanding is present in each role-play situation. Self-disclosure is an important issue in a role-play situation, since it allows patients to trust nurses. Additionally, during a role play situation the nurse needs to respect the patient, while honesty is closely associated with trust and affects the credibility of the care provider. Also, care providers need to be tolerant during their interaction with their patients in order to avoid any interpersonal conflicts. Conclusions: The use of a role play situation between a nurse and a patient is very important, because it can contribute to the implementation of the expected therapeutic outcome. However, a theoretical basis is essential for an effective interaction between patients and nurses.