Communication Break Down

Subgroup Size

Small Group


30 minutes

External Cost


Lesson Plan


Stanchfield, J. (2013, October 17). Communication focused activities part three. Experiential Tools.

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  1. User lmbecker's profile picture lmbecker 2:23 pm 02 May 2023

    I used the “Communication Break Down” tool with a select group of NUR 318, Psych/Mental Health nursing students. At first, the students were a little skeptical of what they were supposed to do or why we were doing this activity. Thankfully, once they got the gist of what was going on, they bought into the activity and ultimately agreed this was beneficial to their learning. We ran the activity multiple times so anyone who wanted to be the “doer” got their chance.

    The students quickly noted how assumptions in communication are made and how easily miscommunication happens. They noted how important it is to be aware of communication breakdowns especially since nursing involves so much instruction giving to individuals. After the activity, they agreed this tool was helpful in identifying communication breaks downs between verbal and non-verbal communication.

    They noted how even by giving information correctly, instructions may still be received in a different way and communication breakdowns can still occur. This activity also helped reiterate the “teach back method” of educating patients in our nursing curriculum.

    Prior to doing the activity, I informed the students to have fun with this activity, that it would not be graded, and no one would be judged for the outcome of the activity. I informed them the goal was to help them and give them insight into their communication skills. I wanted them to participate fully and not stress about the outcome of the activity. I think this ultimately helped ease their nerves about doing the activity and allowed them to benefit.

    This tool can be used to highlight ICL competency of verbal and nonverbal communication, but I also think it could be used for any of the other competencies too.