Open Access Review Article

The Relationship between Suicide and Quality Communication: A Literature Review

Ruth Azami*

Department of Nursing, Washburn University, USA

Corresponding Author

Received Date: May 01, 2019;  Published Date: May 23, 2019


Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, which was 42,773 suicides in 2017 [1]. Female nurses are 4 times more likely to commit suicide than females in other careers [2]. In 82% of nurses surveyed, they reported a high risk for work- related stress [3]. Nurses work long hours and have little control of duties with high workloads and demands, which can cause stress and burnout.

Nurses are at risk for job stressors that can lead to mental health concerns. Nurse managers need to participate in the exchange of information and feelings to develop an understanding between one another [3]. The need for a healthy work environment is essential to the survival of medical professionals. Without quality communication among nurses and their managers, the suicide rate of nurses will remain high [4].

Increased stress can increase the risk of suicide and emotional pain [5]. When a health professional disengages and faces burnout at work there is an increased risk for self-harm [3]. Healthcare professionals experience high expectations and pressure at work while trying to maintain high quality care and productivity [3].

A study of 10,000 suicide cases from 2001-2012 was analyzed [2]. Healthcare professionals accounted for 3.8% of those deaths [2]. Approximately 9.6% of nurses will experience an episode of major depression [4]. Depression is a main contributory factor related to suicide [5]. Nurse managers’ role should include suicide prevention. There is a lack of education for nurse managers to prevent suicide [2]. Action needs to be taken to reduce the high rate of healthcare professionals’ deaths.

There are several factors that increase the risk of suicide. According to the Centers for Disease Control [6], risks for increased risk of suicide are a family history of suicide, previous suicide attempt, history of mental health disorders, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, feeling of hopelessness, and feeling of isolation. According to the Centers for Disease Control [6], protective factors to decrease suicide are clinical treatment for mental and physical disorders, treatment for substance and alcohol abuse, and support by community and family. By communicating concern for an individual can promote treatment and quality communication to decrease the risk for death by suicide.

Depression and other personality disorders increase the risk for suicide [7]. Providers encounter many patients with mental health concerns and need to know how to provide safe and quality care to prevent suicide. Learning how to use the theory of planned behavior promotes successful use of emotional pain communication, which is essential to intervene in suicidal behaviors and actions.

It can be challenging to communicate. Honest communication brings people together and bad communication leads to stress and errors [8]. This reinforces the need for quality communication in healthcare. Quality communication is a connection between two individuals, which requires listening, understanding and not being judgmental [5].

Qualities of good communication are being free from distractions, maintaining eye contact, being supportive and expressing a non-judgmental attitude. Quality communication is a two-way process of reaching a mutual understanding. The participants exchange information and feelings where they can develop a shared meaning [5]. When a nurse manager has high quality communication techniques with staff nurses and co-workers, there can be a decreased stress level [5].

Nurses feel cared for when leaders recognize them as a whole person [5]. Nurses need to speak more directly to one another on issues that personally and professionally matter [5]. Nurses and managers need to take time to ask themselves and one another if they are mentally and physically okay. Collaboration is helpful in promoting a positive work environment.

Nurses are trained to help others and tend to neglect their own mental and physical health needs [5]. This reinforces the need to eliminate or decrease the stressors that increase the risk of nurse suicide. Communication can open doors for individuals who are suffering emotionally. A literature review was conducted to answer the question, do female nurses who have quality communication with their managers, have similar suicide rates, compared to female nurses who do not have quality communication with their nurse managers?

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