A Critique of the Shannon-Weaver Theory of Communication and Its Implications for Nursing

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Research and Theory for Nursing Practice: An International Journal


communication, nursing, Shannon-Weaver Communication Theory, teach back, theory


With the Joint Commission’s revelation that as much as 65%–70% of the time miscommunication has been discovered to be the root cause of many sentinel events, it may be time to examine a communication theory to support practice improvement efforts. Effective communication has been shown to decrease medical errors, improve patient satisfaction, and increase adherence to treatment plans leading to better health outcomes; yet very few studies have examined communication theories and their applicability to practice. This article will examine the Shannon-Weaver Communication Theory as one theory that may support future studies examining the teach-back communication method as a means to improving patient health literacy leading to improvements in clinical practice.