Forming Relationships with Families


After reviewing

Module 4: Lecture Materials & Resources

, discuss the following;

What are potential barriers to forming an effective relationship with families?  What, if any, might be potential conflicts of interest?

Submission Instructions:

  • Your initial post should be at least 500 words, formatted and cited in current APA style with support from at least 2 academic sources. Your initial post is worth 8 points.
  • You should respond to at least two of your peers by extending, refuting/correcting, or adding additional nuance to their posts. 
  • All replies must be constructive and use literature where possible.

You should respond to at least two of your peers by extending, refuting/correcting, or adding additional nuance to their posts. All replies must be constructive and use literature where possible.

Post #1

Jenna Horgan

NUR 420

Professor Roberts

St Thomas University

February 2, 2023

Forming Relationships with Families

What are potential barriers to forming an effective relationship with families?


What, if any, might be potential conflicts of interest?

           Forming an effective relationship is mainly centered on active communication with the patient and the family. The development of an effective relationship with the families of a patient may be affected if nurses derail essential information on the patient’s prognosis. Among the potential barriers to creating an effective relationship with families in nursing are language barriers, miscommunication, conflicting beliefs on treatment, and inadequate communication time. These factors may lead to a disconnect which will hinder the creation of a proper relationship (Price et al., 2022). Nurses are aware of effective and timely communication to create an excellent relationship, but they need more time due to the workload in the healthcare setting.

            Nurses are responsible for offering care to patients with different needs based on their illnesses. Those critically ill demand more time and attention, making it difficult for nurses to find time to enhance their relationships with families. Nurses will often experience burnout and fatigue, which will lead to limited time for interaction with the families. In some instances, they are exhausted that they cannot converse to offer information to the families. Thus the insufficient time of communication will lead to miscommunication and misinterpretation of situations and the information provided.

            Another barrier that can hinder an effective relationship is the language barrier. Healthcare facilities should have a diverse workforce to limit instances where nurses encounter language barriers. Language barriers make it challenging to offer patients the care they need. In some cases, healthcare providers are unable to diagnose an illness. This issue is common in communities where there are ethnic groups who speak their native language. Without a translator present to translate and offer communication, patients and families do not meet the satisfaction they need. Developing a relationship with the families becomes a hurdle.

           `A relationship may be affected by patients and families having different beliefs compared to the healthcare services offered. Different beliefs will lead to conflict because the needs of the patient will not be met. This conflict of interest is fueled by the ignorance of the patient regarding treatment and the practitioner on ethnic stereotyping. This leads to dissatisfaction of the family and prolonged suffering of the patient. An example is a Jehovah’s witness patient who does not allow blood transfusion. In case of an emergency, this belief would lead to conflict. For a family that does not have enhanced knowledge and a nurse who is not culturally competent, the conflict will arise.

           A conflict of interest may arise in the case of different religious and cultural beliefs (Van Keer, Deschepper, Huyghens, & Bilsen, 2019). According to the code of ethics, a patient has a right to autonomy. This means that the patient can accept or decline medical assistance. In a life-and-death situation such as that of a Jehovah’s witness patient, where the patient and family are not compatible with the health care service offered, a conflict of interest may arise. Healthcare providers may have their hands tied if the family insists on carrying on with their religious beliefs. The patient will have prolonged suffering, and in some cases, the patient may die. 




Price, A. M., McAndrew, N. S., Thaqi, Q., Kirk, M., Brysiewicz, P., Eggenberger, S., & Naef, R. (2022). Factors influencing critical care nurses’ family engagement practices: An international perspective. Nursing in Critical Care. doi:10.1111/nicc.12824

Van Keer, R., Deschepper, R., Huyghens, L., & Bilsen, J. (2019). Preventing conflicts between nurses and families of a multi-ethnic patient population during critical medical situations in a hospital. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 31(3), 250-256. doi:10.1177/1043659619859049

Post #2

Chabely Tapanes Prado

St. Thomas University

NUR 420

Dr. Tina Roberts



Building trusting relationships with patients’ loved ones is crucial in nursing. The nurse and the patient’s family can greatly benefit from a strong bond when working in a critical care unit. Effective communication, moral behavior, and teamwork are crucial to the success of any nurse-family partnership. Nevertheless, hurdles still need to be overcome before such cooperation can materialize. Communicating with loved ones can be difficult for nurses for various reasons. The issue of faith and spirituality must be addressed first. It might be challenging for nurses and patients to get along if they have very different worldviews. It gets considerably trickier if they all, or any of them, are devout followers of their respective faiths. Such perspectives may be at odds with accepted medical practices, making it more challenging for the nurse to accomplish her job. It is also feasible that a nurse of the opposite gender to the patient would not even be able to offer sufficient treatment if their religion prohibits it.

Secondly, cultural barriers can make it difficult for families and healthcare providers to communicate effectively. One reason a patient’s loved ones might not confide in their doctor is internalized bias (Joo, 2020). Unfortunately, some communities have a negative view of nurses. This kind of thing often happens when nurses are not accorded the same status as other medical professionals. To compensate for their perceived lack of knowledge, some nurses gravitate toward working in intensive care units, where they are less likely to have contact with doctors or family members of the patients they care for.

Finally, concerns at work must be taken into account. There are many challenges that nurses face on the job, and they can have a significant impact on their interpersonal connections. Problems include overburdening workloads, inadequate materials, and restricted time. If nurses have to prioritize caring for a high number of patients, they will not have time to engage with patients’ loved ones and create meaningful relationships. Adverse working conditions might have a negative impact on nurses’ attitudes. When one or both nurses feel aggravated on the job, it can disrupt communication and lead to a strained working relationship.

Additionally, it is important to understand that some families and nurses may have competing interests that make it difficult for them to build close ties. It is a dilemma when a nurse has to decide what is best for the patient and what is best for the company. A patient with a low income may have an immediate need for extra medication but lack the financial resources to purchase it (Kim, 2022). The nurse’s allegiance would be divided between caring for the patient and following the rules set by the administration.

In conclusion, nurses and their loved ones need to communicate well and work together to give patients the greatest care possible. Building meaningful connections with others, personally and professionally, may be challenging. For the sake of their patients, doctors must learn to circumvent such obstacles. Establishing this kind of rapport is essential for arriving at a correct diagnosis.


Joo, J. Y., & Liu, M. F. (2020). Nurses’ barriers to care of ethnic minorities: A qualitative systematic review. Western Journal of Nursing Research, 42(9), 760-771.

Kong, E. H., Kim, H., & Kim, H. (2022). Nursing home staff’s perceptions of barriers and needs in implementing person‐centred care for people living with dementia: A qualitative study. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 31(13-14), 1896-1906.

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