As a nurse, you are continually in communication with patients, their families and co-workers. Solid communication skills are essential for a successful nursing career. Communication directly impacts all people you interact with, such as:
- Managers and administrators
- Other nursing staff
- Patients and their families
A substantial part of nursing is the ability to communicate with those around you effectively. Nurses need to use proven communication tools with their team while using a few guidelines to help them communicate as nurses.
Active listening is how you develop trust and respect with patients and co-workers. Try to lean forward, maintain eye contact and nod your head to let others know you are engaged. Conveying your understanding by repeating essential points back to the speaker lets them know you are actively listening to them.
Situational Awareness with Open Communication
Use situational awareness to keep up with what is going on in your work area while being aware of any concerns that may impact the delivery of care. Strong situational awareness skills are vital to nursing decision-making.
The complex nature of healthcare makes it prone to mistakes, making it essential for employees to help maintain safe working environments while preventing errors. Open communication where team members feel comfortable asking questions and sharing concerns is vital to successful nursing.
Shift changes and care hand-offs demand useful and concise information. A standard process, such as the SBAR or I-PASS, will ensure the accurate relaying of crucial information to other team members. SBAR stands for situation, background, assessment and recommendation. I-PASS is illness severity, patient summary, action list, situation awareness and synthesis by the receiver. These tools are useful for hand off communication.
Adjusting to the Audience
Everyone has different communication needs, and nurses must understand this in their daily communication. Physicians need specifics about the patient’s condition, nurses want the same information as well as any tips for dealing with the patient, and family members will have many questions regarding their loved one’s care.
Here are a few communication tips for enhancing nurse-to-patient communication:
- Always introduce yourself and address your patient by their name.
- Stop and listen without distraction.
- Look directly at patients and be aware of your body language.
- Speak clearly and slowly while describing what you are doing and why you are doing it.
Patient and Family Member Engagement
Improved patient outcomes can result from the engagement of patients and their family members. Nurses can present their patients, as well as the patient’s family members, with educational materials upon admission, which describe their role in the patient’s safety. Whiteboards in patient’s rooms are another useful communication tool that can inform patients about their care goals and also benefit nurse-to-nurse communication.
Contact General Healthcare Resources (GHR) to handle the details of your nursing career while you concentrate on effective communication with your patients.