January 17, 2020
Every career requires efficient communication. However, nursing careers demand more than the ability to run a meeting. Nurses work with patients and are often a resource and advocate for those under their care. They interact with physicians and other nurses, and patient health is on the line.
Nurses need tools to communicate effectively since they directly impact patient care.
The quality of nurse communication affects patients, other care team members, and administration. The importance of this communication requires it to be as effective as possible.
Patient safety and care are dependent on nurses communicating about treatment concerns. For example, a nurse can use communication to pre-empt a preventable error by a colleague or physician. U.S. News & World Report points out that nurses aren’t accustomed to speaking up due to concerns of creating conflict. Some of this is due to differing power dynamics. However, communication could protect patients.
Patients may require round-the-clock care, which means care occurs in shifts. Handoffs from one caregiver to another allow room for misinterpretation of information or omission of essential data. Having clear instructions and a mindful handoff keep patient care consistent and safe.
Plus, nurses need to be able to communicate with patients. Collecting all relevant information to aid in proper diagnosis and treatment can prevent mistakes and speed recovery. Providing clear care instructions to patients and families improves outcomes.
The nurse will employ three basic communication methods: verbal, nonverbal, and written.
Verbal communication is speaking to others. While this may seem fairly straightforward, you must be mindful of tone. The way you talk to people should be professional yet empathetic. Choose your words wisely.
Nonverbal communication refers to your body language and facial expressions. Be aware of your body language. Nurse Choice advises keeping your arms uncrossed and making eye contact. Maintain a pleasant but appropriate expression to show you’re open and ready to listen.
Written communications need to be clear. Write in complete sentences and only use well-known abbreviations and jargon that cannot be misinterpreted. Keep in mind that nurse-to-nurse communications often take the form of reports, which may have patient health and legal ramifications.
Everyone can improve their communication skills. With mindfulness and practice, you can improve your communication with patients, peers, and administration. Strive to be a better communicator every day and see how it improves patient outcomes and your workplace.
Learn more about the UMFK online RN to BSN program.