Counselling Skills for Nurses, Midwives, and Health Visitors

Counselling Skills for Nurses, Midwives, and Health Visitors

Counselling Skills for Nurses, Midwives, and Health Visitors

Counselling Skills for Nurses, Midwives, and Health Visitors


"This book is compact and easy to read, and could make a significant contribution to practitioners' ability to communicate effectively and make their practice patient centred."
Journal fo Clinical Nursing

"This is a delightful book which is well written, easy to read and suitable for students, qualified nurses and those who are specialist nurses."
Journal of Community Nursing

Counselling is a diverse activity and there are an increasing number of people who find themselves using counselling skills, not least those in the caring professions. There is a great deal of scope in using counselling skills to promote health in the everyday encounters that nurses have with their patients. The emphasis on care in the community and empowerment of patients through consumer involvement means that nurses are engaged in providing support and help to people to change behaviours.

Community nurses often find themselves in situations which require in-depth listening and responding skills: for example, in helping people come to terms with chronic illness, disability and bereavement. Midwives are usually the first port of call for those parents who have experienced miscarriages, bereavements, or are coping with decisions involving the potential for genetic abnormalities. Similarly, health visitors are in a valuable position to provide counselling regarding the immunization and health of the young infant. These practitioners are having to cope not only with new and diverse illnesses, for example HIV and AIDS, but also with such policy initiatives as the National Service Framework for Mental Health and their implications.

This book examines contemporary developments in nursing and health care in relation to the fundamental philosophy of counselling, the practicalities of counselling and relevant theoretical underpinnings. Whilst the text is predominantly aimed at nurses, midwives and health visitors, it will also be of interest to those professionals allied to medicine, for example physiotherapists, occupational therapists and dieticians.


Counselling has become part of the fabric of nursing.

(Burnard 1995: 261)

I was delighted to be asked by Michael Jacobs to write this book. Having trained to become a nurse over 20 years ago and being a practising counsellor for some 12 years I have often found it difficult to balance the boundaries between counselling and the use of counselling skills within the workplace. This is complicated by the fact that I have also been in academia for a number of years, supporting the development of undergraduate and postgraduate students in both an educative and pastoral role. Like many teachers and nurses engaged in education, I come across students experiencing personal difficulties, just as nurses, midwives and health visitors encounter patients in their everyday work whose life circumstances are causing a great deal of emotional, psychological, physical and sometimes spiritual distress. This book aims to outline the role that counselling skills can play in supporting, enabling and empowering patients and staff within the context of nursing.

When I refer to nursing, I use it as a broad term to incorporate a number of specialities; I also take the liberty of including health visitors and, for the sake of ease, midwives. The skills referred to throughout this text are transferable not only across disciplines but also within disciplines and, importantly, are just as helpful for supporting the practitioner as they are for the patient.

Having trained to be a counsellor over a decade ago, the biggest challenge and the aspect that I found most rewarding in . . .

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