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Chapter Listing

Decoding Body Language: What Every Nurse Needs to Know - DEMO


Body Language: It’s in Our DNA

Body language is an art and a science. The science is the body language, and art is the application of body language. For millions of years, we have been using body language as a primary form of communication. We have evolved over the centuries to use cues and expressions to communicate without the act of speech.

Body language is so intertwined within our beings that it continues to be a primary means of communication. We can communicate needs, thoughts, and feelings through non-verbal cues. For this reason, researchers can safely say, body language is engrained into our DNA and evolvement as a species.

Communication, in any form, is used to facilitate trust, improve quality of care, establish rapport, and increase interaction between patients and providers. As nurses who consensually invade personal space to provide care and witness people at their most vulnerable, it is imperative to use all forms of communication. It is essential that the nurse carry him or herself with confidence while conveying compassionate non-verbal cues to foster the optimal, caring environment.

Humans are and have been for millions of years, equipped with musk glands that are used for scent. Additionally, we have the innate ability to recognize physical and physiological changes such as sweating, blushing, gestures, facial reactions, drawings, posture, and vocal noises.

The art of body language can easily be observed between a mother and an infant. The infant is non-verbal, yet a mother can sense the infant’s need by his or her type of cry, vocalizations, posturing, and expressions. Infants come from the womb with instinctual behaviors to assist in its survival and pleasure. In addition to having musk glands and body language built within its DNA infants also have the following non-verbal behaviors to assist in satisfying his or her needs and pleasures. Examples of these behaviors are thumb-sucking, crying, smiling, cooing, and sighing.

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