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May 2022

Sounds of comfort in the trauma center: How nurses talk to patients in pain

Author(s): Morse, J. M., Khonsari, E. S.

Journal/Book: Soc Sci Med. 1996; 42: The Boulevard, Langford Lane, Kidlington, Oxford, England OX5 1GB. Pergamon-Elsevier Science Ltd. 1669-1680.

Abstract: Language that trauma center nurses directed to 29 distressed patients was systematically examined from videotaped data. A unique set of co-occurring linguistic features and intonation patterns which characterize the comfort talk register was identified. Descriptive data reveal that nurses reserve this register for patients only and that linguistic adjustments are made within the register for children. The nurses' comfort talk register is also characterized by a restricted set of pragmatic functions which include: (1) helping patients to 'hold on'; (2) obtaining information that contributes to the assessment of the patient's condition; (3) giving and receiving information about procedures; and (4) verbally communicating a sense of caring to the patient. Other grammatical and lexical features that are used in conjunction with selected intonation contours which delineate the nurse's comfort talk register are discussed relative to interactional processes.

Note: Article A Proctor, Univ Illinois, Dept Speech & Hearing, 901 S 6TH St, Champaign, IL 61820 USA

Keyword(s): trauma; comfort; communication; caring


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