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Differentiating Reassurance and Advice (Nursing)

by Brenda Marshall, EdD, MSN, RN

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    00:01 So, we talked a little bit about reassurance and advice.

    00:06 What's the difference between reassurance and advice? Well, reassurance is when you reflect what the client says, and then you give them a bit of reassurance about what they are telling you.

    00:23 For example, you might want to say to your patient, "Oh, I hear how difficult this is for you and I'm here to listen, whenever you need me.

    00:35 I will help you, I won't leave you alone with this. I'm part of your team." So listen to how that reassures the person that they are not alone in their struggle.

    00:50 That's quite different from giving advice.

    00:55 If we're going to be saying something that advices someone, we'd say, "Oh, boy, this is a really hard situation.

    01:02 If it were my situation, if I were in your shoes, I would just -" Or I'd say, "You know, I hear what you're telling me and this is what I think you should do." Advice takes the spotlight and puts the power in our hands - it takes it out of their hands.

    01:28 And when we're thinking about therapeutic communication, and we are remembering that everything is focussed on recovery and re-empowerment, so this person is able to get back to their life, we want to make sure that they have self-efficacy, that they believe that they have the power to be able to achieve their goals.

    01:53 So, I'd like you to think for a minute between reassurance and advice, which one do you think is therapeutic and why? Now if you said that reassurance is the therapeutic one, you are correct.

    02:12 But why is advice not therapeutic? If you say because we are taking away the power from the patient to make their own individual decision-making, you are absolutely correct.

    02:31 We want to be able to support and increase a person's ability to make their own decisions and to understand when you make your own decisions you are taking responsibility for the consequences of those decisions.

    02:50 Too often, as nurses, if we say, "This is what you should do, you should go ahead and talk to your spouse and explain that you need more time alone." And that person goes and talks to the spouse and says, "You know, Brenda Marshall told me I need more time alone." and the spouse says, "Great, let's get divorced then you'll have all the time you want." That patient will come back and say, "You told me to say that, I did what you told me to do.

    03:19 And now look what I have." We don't want that.

    03:23 We want the patient to be able to say, "I think I need more time alone.

    03:28 Reflect. Wow, you think you need more time alone.

    03:32 Well, how would you get to there? I'm listening." That's what this is about. I'm not advising.


    About the Lecture

    The lecture Differentiating Reassurance and Advice (Nursing) by Brenda Marshall, EdD, MSN, RN is from the course Therapeutic Communication in Psychiatric Nursing.


    Included Quiz Questions

    1. “You've been working hard. As a team, we can reassess your treatment plan.”
    2. “Losing weight was hard for me too. You shouldn't beat yourself up."
    3. “I'm sorry you're feeling down. Why don't you try a new fitness program?”
    4. “Did you follow the diet plan I provided you?”
    1. It communicates support and empowerment.
    2. It fosters self-efficacy and supports recovery.
    3. It increases compliance with the plan of care.
    4. It can take power away from the client.
    5. It involves telling the client what to do.

    Author of lecture Differentiating Reassurance and Advice (Nursing)

     Brenda Marshall, EdD, MSN, RN

    Brenda Marshall, EdD, MSN, RN


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