Guidelines for Interpersonal Process Recording

The purpose of the Interpersonal Process Analysis (IPA) is to demonstrate the student's progress in understanding and refining therapeutic communication skills essential to the nurse-client relationship. Analysis of selected interactions with the client promotes the student's ability to apply communication theory and understand the dynamics of the interpersonal relationship. The IPA assists the student to identify how one's own thoughts and feelings impact the process of communication as well as identifying personal identify strengths and areas needing improvement through analysis of the interaction.

The four-column format attached below should be used to complete the IPA. The information that should be included in the IPA includes:

  1. on a cover sheet, a brief summary of the setting where the interaction took place, any pertinent events immediately preceding the interaction, the student's purpose for the interaction, and the student's feelings at the initiation of the interaction;
  2. in the column labeled “client”, the client's actual verbal and nonverbal responses during the interaction; nonverbal responses may include tone of voice, facial expression, posture, position, hand gestures or other client activity; the recording should be descriptive enough to provide an accurate “picture” of what actually was observed but still be concise;
  3. in the column labeled “nurse”, the student's actual verbal and nonverbal responses during the interaction aligned in a manner that the reader can follow the chronological flow of the interaction; as with the client, the nurse's nonverbal should be as accurate as possible;
  4. in the column labeled “Analysis”, student analysis of the effectiveness of the interaction which should include:
  5. in the column labeled “Alternative Responses”; list other techniques that you might have used; label the technique and provide a brief rationale stating why you believe it might have been more effective in moving toward the stated goal for the interaction; keep in mind that the purpose of the IPA is to develop more effective communication skills; therefore, identifying alternative responses is one of the more important components of the IPA; even if you believe that your approach was “therapeutic”, you should consider alternative approaches;
  6. a summary evaluating the overall effectiveness of the interaction in terms of the stated purpose and the nurse's effectiveness in promoting a therapeutic interaction; identify goals for any future interactions; note any factors that influenced the interaction and state your strengths and areas to improve; for areas to improve, list specific strategies that you plan to use.

The student should seek to provide as accurate a recording of the interaction as possible. The best way to achieve this is to write down the client and nurse responses immediately following the interaction. Do not record any comments during the actual interaction. Any names used should be designated by initial only – do not record names! The most significant parts of the IPA are the columns for “Analysis” and “Alternative Responses”. Thus, even if the interaction was less effective than desired, the grading of the interaction is based primarily on the quality of the analysis. Thus, it is not helpful to modify your actual comments – try to record the interaction without embellishing it or modifying it to “correct” problems.


Recording of Interaction
  • provides introductory summary that describes the setting and purpose of the interaction
  • provides chronological, easy to follow record of the interaction
  • includes nonverbal behaviors for client/nurse
  • consists of actual statements by client/nurse
labels correctly each technique used by the nurse 5%
notes if communication technique uses was therapeutic (T) or nontherapeutic (NT) 5%
identifies rationale for communication techniques used by the nurse 5%
reflects on impact of own beliefs, values and feelings on communication process 10%
discusses choice of techniques in relation to client response and stated goal of the interaction 10%
evaluates stage of the relationship and its impact on the communication process 5%
integrates relevant theoretical concepts in discussion to support rationale 10%
Alternative Responses
  • states actual alternative responses and labels these correctly
  • provides alternative responses for nontherapeutic responses with rationale
  • identifies possible alternative responses therapeutic responses with rationale
  • evaluates effectiveness of interaction in relation to stated purpose
  • notes key points
  • identifies goals for future interactions
  • lists strengths and areas for improvement
  • provides specific strategies to enhance communication process
  • uses correct spelling, grammar and terminology
  • uses designated format per guidelines
  • uses standard abbreviations correctly
  • presents information clearly and in a logical sequence
  • cites references using APA format
TOTAL 100%

last updated: 27 July 2001

Interpersonal Process Analysis
NSGL 330

UNCW School of Nursing

Student: _________________
Client Initials:_______
Date: _________________

ClientNurseAnalysisAlternate Responses

last updated: 27 July 2001
Peer Communication Assessment University of North Carolina Peer Evaluator: ___________________ at Wilmington Date of Evaluation: School of Nursing NSG 330 Process: The nurse Nonverbal: The nurse Verbal: The nurse introduces self and explains role clearly. identifies time frame for the interaction(s). states purpose of the interaction. discusses parameters r/t confidentiality. identifies role of peer evaluator. focuses on client concerns. conveys respect and a genuine interest in client. moves from general to specific area of concern. acknowledges client's feeling verbally &/or nonverbally. focuses on one idea or concern at a time. plans for privacy and freedom from interruption. uses self-disclosure appropriately. avoids ambiguous statements, personal opinions and generalizations. avoids use of barriers to communication. Demonstrates attending behavior including: ___ erect., open posture; ___ facing client squarely; ___ leaning toward client; ___ conveying a relaxed attitude; ___ direct, intermittent eye contact; ___ gestures that support verbal; ___ cues such as nodding or smiling. maintains personal space appropriate to the setting and any cultural preferences. positions self on level with client. uses silence selectively. uses touch appropriately. (Describe type and setting as well as where on body and when.) minimizes use of direct questioning unless necessary to obtain specific information. uses open-ended and/or focused questions (PRN) to stimulate further discussion. gives information. seeks clarification as needed. restates key points or significant concerns. validates understanding by paraphrasing. uses reflection to focus on feelings. presents reality. offers self. uses summarizing to conclude the interaction. Directions: Peer evaluator will check & give examples of specific behaviors while having NO interaction with client or nurse during observation experience. Developed from: Arnold, E., & Boggs, K.(1999). Interpersonal Relationships: Professional Communication Skills for Nursed (3rd ed.). Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders.