The face, the most expressive part of the body, reveals emotions such as surprise, fear, anger, happiness, and sadness.
The sender's facial expressions often become the basis for judgments by the receiver. However, because of the diversity in facial expressions, meanings are often misunderstood.
Facial expressions reveal, contradict, or suppress true emotions.
People are often unaware of the messages their expressions send.
When facial expressions are unclear, seek verbal feedback about the sender's intent.
(Example: A patient who frowns after receiving information may be confused, angry, disapproving, or simply concentrating on a reply. In this case, say, "I notice you're frowning," and encourage clarification of the patient's response.)
Patients watch nurses closely.
(Example: Consider the effect your facial expression has on a patient who asks, "Am I going to die?" The slightest change in the eyes, lips, or face will reveal your true feelings.)
Learn to avoid showing overt shock, disgust, dismay, or other distressing reactions in the patient's presence.