Throughout the nursing field, communication happens to be the most challenging aspect of your job. Whether they are doctors, patients or general staff, you always need effective communication skills to engage with people.
Importance of Nurse Communication?
One of the main reasons nurses should communicate better, is for patient safety as poor communication can lead to multiple errors or wasted time.
For example, from Stat News, a patient informed the nurse about the pain he was experiencing after the surgery. The nurse noted that the patient’s red blood cells had dropped. But since she never reported what was going on to the surgeon, the patient died cause of internal bleeding.
In situations like these, there is no one person responsible entirely, but avoiding the communication breakdown could have better outcomes.
Tips for Nursing Communication:
1. Actively Listen
Nurses have to verbally communicate with doctors, patients and patient’s family, which means talking involves only half of the effective communication equation. When you are visiting a patient, it is very important that you listen to them intently, as smallest cues can be a sign of their health improving or deteriorating.
Also avoid interruption. Actively listening to a patient not only involves engaging a conversation with patients but also making an eye-contact with them and pausing to listen about what the patient is saying.
2. Cultural awareness
As a nurse you have to deal with a variety of patients coming from different backgrounds. And it is important for you to be sensitive to these differences.
- At times a female patient might be more comfortable interacting to another female regarding pregnancy or menstrual pain.
- Some patient may not approve of certain treatments and medications due to their religious backgrounds.
Whatever the situation may be, as a nurse it is your duty to be equally understanding to all your patients and provide them the comfort they deserve.
3. Using Nonverbal Communication
We think that verbal or written communication is the only key while dealing with patients. But that’s not it. As a nurse your nonverbal communication is equally important. It includes hand gestures, body movement, tone of voice, facial expressions, fidgeting, etc.
- While making an eye contact with the patient, smile.
- Have a gentle tone while speaking and be clear about your explanation.
- Have a relaxed posture and maintain certain distance while talking to the patient.
4. Presentation Skills
Sometimes nurses present incorrect information in stressful situations due to lack of confidence. And this is why along with communication skills nurses should also develop presentation skills by sharing information with other nurses in low stake environment.
They should plan their message and practice what they want to say in the allotted time frame. And once you are ready, take a deep breath, speak clearly and remember to smile.
SBAR is an effective approach while giving a written or a verbal report to an oncoming nurse or physician.
S - Situation (Providing a statement of the problem)
B - Background (Nurse provides a brief overview about the patient’s condition along with diagnosis, medication and designated doctor.
A - Assessment (Deeply analyzing patient’s background and relevant pieces of information)
R - Recommendation (request or recommendation for the next nurse)
Developing effective communication skills takes time and you should take advantage of every opportunity to improve it. And by implementing effective communication in workplace, can help you pursue a fulfilling nursing career and also improve the well-being of a patient.