Empathy with People Having Hearing Deficits – Final Exam for Nursing Students

Nurses – with outstanding expertise, empathy and courage – are one of the leading soldiers in the battle line to protect the health of patients and the community. On the journey to become an excellent nurse meeting international standard, the students majoring in Nursing at VinUni are trained to become companions and psychological supporters for patients, especially those with sensory impairment due to disease or age.

During the final assessment of the “Introduction to Nursing Practice I” course, VinUni nursing students underwent 8 exam stations with challenges in communication, assessment of patients, and care intervention, etc. using the OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination). In particular, at the communication station, VinUni students faced the challenge: instructing and explaining gastroscopy prescription for a female patient, who is 50 years old and having hearing deficit. Students practiced communicating with standardized patients (role played by a professional actor); throughout the process, professors and lecturers objectively observe and evaluate students’ performances through a one-way mirror in an independent observation room.

Hearing impairment makes it difficult for the patients to communicate with others around them, so the nurses’ deep empathy plays an important role in caring and treatment for this group of patients. To complete the communication station, students must put themselves in the shoes of the patient and then, give up their daily communication habits to follow the principles of effective communication with the hearing-impaired-patient, such as do not cover arms across mouth, sit at the same level and face with the patient, use short sentences, choose other words with equivalent meaning when the patient cannot hear, and do not increase the volume when impatient. Along with professional comments from professors and lecturers, students also have the opportunity to receive the most useful and objective advice from the “simulated patient” (standardized patient). As such, students can also learn effective communication skills with people having hearing loss event in the exam.

***The nursing program at VinUni is in a strategic collaboration with University of Pennsylvania (UPenn)—the number 1 nursing school in the world for 5 consecutive years. UPenn and VinUni joined hands in developing the curriculum, course materials, infrastructure, and faculty, etc. We both aim to have a world-class Nursing program at VinUni satisfying all the rigorous requirements of this field.

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