Interpersonal care includes aspects related to the relationship between the nurse and the patient; and includes patterns of verbal and non-verbal communication.
Communication through the use of touch and eye contact are affected by cultural values related to gender and the need to maintain modesty in particular for females. As noted earlier, Islamic teachings do not permit unnecessary touching between unrelated adults of opposite gender and these values impact on use of touch as an essential aspect of nursing care.
In practice, assignment of a male nurse to care for a female patient should be avoided; as a female nurse or adult relative must be present for all interactions. A male nurse may not provide personal care to female patients, or carry out procedures such a catheterization.
While it is more acceptable for female nurses to care for male patients; some male patients may be uncomfortable with touch that is not related to hands-on nursing care. Male catheterization should be done by a male caregiver. Use of touch between same genders is appropriate, and can be used as a caring action.
The need to maintain modesty impacts on eye contact between opposite genders and needs to be considered when interpreting eye contact and use of body language in the health care encounter. Eye contact between opposite genders may be avoided, in an effort to maintain the modesty of the female (whether patient or nurse) and to show respect.