Barriers Affecting Nurse-Family Relationship

Nurses are among the essential professionals who serve the public since they fulfill invariable roles in healthcare and population health. They are patients’ advocates, promote healthy lifestyle, and offer health education to their clients and families apart from providing direct patient care. Nurses’ effective interaction or communication with patients and families is an essential aspect which influences their delivery of services. This essay discusses potential barriers, including language, culture, age, gender, and education, which affect the nurse’s ability to form a productive relationship with families in the community setting.

Language is a vital factor that facilitates the formation and maintenance of any significant relationship. It can be a significant barrier to nurses, particularly when trying to form relationships with families. Norouzinia et al. (2015) note that different dialect or use of colloquial language has considerable potential for hindering nurse-family productive interactions. It may contribute to misunderstanding of the family needs, as well as the purpose or aim of the nurses. Indeed, the failure to understand the language used by nurses or families obstructs communication.

Culture defines an individual’s behavior, the way of performing everyday activities, and beliefs. It is a potential barrier to the formation of nurse-family relationships. Culture influences a family’s lifestyle, including the type of food they eat and the consumption of healthcare services (Norouzinia et al., 2015). Equally, it impacts the way an individual interacts with other people. For instance, it would be challenging for a non-Muslim nurse to establish productive interactions with Muslim families because of a different faith. Nurses need to have adequate understanding about different culture to guarantee effective delivery of services.

Age and the level of education also influence communication between nurses and family members. Age difference or generation gap can hinder communication, inhibiting effective nurse-family relationship (Norouzinia et al., 2015). For example, it would be difficult to interact with children because of their inability to fully express themselves. Equally, a nurse would have challenges bonding with a family comprised of elderly couples due to such conditions as dementia. The family’s level of education also impacts their understanding and conveyance of health-related information. Illiteracy or semi-literacy of individuals negatively affects nurse-family relationship because of poor communication as well.

Gender differences between the nurse and family members can further influence their interactions. For instance, families composed of only females would feel unsafe when attended by male nurses. These kinds of families would also have difficulties talking about such sensitive health issues as sexual problems. Nurse’s inadequate understanding of family needs is another factor which would inhibit the formation of effective interactions (Norouzinia et al., 2015). Therefore, nurses have to assess their clients’ needs before trying to establish any relationships.

A potential conflict of interest related to financial and intimate benefits would arise when nurses try to form relationships with families, interfering with professional obligations. For example, a nurse may incline towards developing a personal relationship with one member of the family. They may also solicit money to deliver services, which can deny financially unstable families rights to health care. Thus, nurses should follow their code of ethics to prevent actions that negatively impact their work.

In conclusion, nurses play various roles, including advocating for patients and families, educating them, providing direct care, and promoting a healthy lifestyle. The implementation of these roles is influenced by their communication and interaction with their clients. Therefore, nurses need to establish and maintain effective relationships to guarantee the delivery of quality services. However, the formation of productive nurse-family relationships can be hindered by such factors as language, culture, age, gender, and education.


Norouzinia, R., Aghabarari, M., Shiri, M., Karimi, M., & Samami, E. (2015). Communication barriers perceived by nurses and patients. Global Journal of Health Science, 8(6), 65-74.

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1. NursingBird. "Barriers Affecting Nurse-Family Relationship." January 24, 2022.


NursingBird. "Barriers Affecting Nurse-Family Relationship." January 24, 2022.