Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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An Exploration of Language and Nursing Practice to Improve Communication in the Context of Ear Syringing

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posted on 2021-11-03, 02:10 authored by Lally, Elsa June

Action research is a critical reflective process that involves spirals of cycles if of planning, acting, reflecting/evaluating and replanning the next cycle. This action research inquiry explores communication and nursing practice in an effort to improve practice and enhance patient care. Implications of this study indicate that action research is a method that works, and it is a satisfying way of challenging and changing nursing practice.  Using ear syringing as a procedure, in the general practice setting and at two separate surgeries, another Practice Nurse and I co-researched this study during working hours. 12 people consented to participate in the research that involved the audiotaping of each ear syringing interaction. Following each transcription of the recording, my co-researcher and I read our own and then each other's transcripts, and listened to the recordings. We then met to discuss and reflect on our findings and to plan the next cycle.  Throughout the process, my co researcher and I found a number of areas of practice we could change or enhance. Changes included the use of technical language such as "contraindications" and "auditory meatus", the side effects of syringing, improvements in communicating situations where ear syringing is not recommended and the options available, and post procedure information. These changes became a significant challenge and areas for improvement when both my co-researcher and I forgot the changes, thus repeating previous errors and omissions. This factor highlighted the need to practise any changes prior to interactions, and to have a cue card on hand to facilitate recollection and to cement improvements into practice.  Although time constraints limited this inquiry to three cycles, at the final meeting we agreed to continue the reflective process we had begun to explore our practice.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Arts (Applied)

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

Graduate School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health


Nelson, Kathy