Assertiveness training called key to improving nursing care

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Assertiveness training can help reduce stress, Yoshinaga says.
Assertiveness training can help reduce stress, Yoshinaga says.

Nurses showed short- and long-term benefits after just three hours of an assertiveness training program, according to results from a University of Miyazaki study.

Study participants received two 90-minute training sessions a month apart. The sessions consisted of lecture and small group role play. 

After the training, the mean total RAS score, used to measure assertiveness, improved from -14.2 to -8.9. The program moved participants inside the optimal range for Japanese nurses of -10 to 10 said Naoki Yoshinaga, Ph.D., MSN, study author and lecturer at the University of Miyazaki in Japan. His specialties include practice of cognitive behavioral therapy.

One of the study authors, Sayoko Nakamura, a nurse risk manager at a university hospital, noticed that poor communication among nurses was a main cause of reported incidents for nursing practice errors, Yoshinaga said. That compelled researchers to explore assertiveness training for nurses at Nakamura's hospital. 

“It's important that employers make nursing staff recognize the necessity of improving assertiveness so that they have high motivation and are willing to participate in assertiveness training in order to reduce interpersonal stress, build effective team relationships and provide sufficient nursing care,” he said.