11 Tips and Practices for Better Nurse Communication
Nurses often work in fast-paced, high-stress, competitive, and demanding environments;There’s usually a ton going on, and a lot of people relying on them. Understandably, these factors are going to have an impact on nurses -Unfortunately, it’s often in the way they communicate with patients and fellow coworkers.
Communication is essential within the medical field – effective patient care coordination depends on it. Not to mention, when coworkers can communicate well, it contributes to a more positive and less-stressful working environment. As the communication giant, Paul J. Meyer, once said, “Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success.”
So, how can nurses improve their communication skills? Below, we’ll take a look at 11 Tips and Practices for Better Nurse Communication that can make all the difference in promoting a more positive working and care environment.
1. Listen to Understand
It’s easy, especially in a fast-paced work environment, to listen to respond rather than listening to understand. By focusing on what a coworker or patient is striving to communicate, it allows for better and more accurate responses and more productive conversation.
2. Body Language
Body language is a large portion of communication. Specific postures, facial expressions, and even hand gestures can change entirely how verbal communications are construed. By making an effort to maintain a relaxed composure during a discussion, it can allow for more natural conversation flow and more receptive listening.
Compassion is a big one within the medical industry. Patients are often scared and in pain, and coworkers are rushed and often frustrated. When a focus is placed on understanding how the other person may be feeling at a given time, it can help with more accurate communication and promote calmer interactions.
Trust between nurses and with patients is vital. As nurses, it’s important to rely on coworkers for support and assistance; Similarly, patients want to feel they can depend on their nurses to come through for them. Never promise anything that’s not guaranteed, and prioritize any assistance promised to fellow nursing staff.
The pitch and strength of tone used during communication directly impacts how it’s perceived by listeners. It’s important to speak clearly, calmly, and with intent when communicating.
Finding common ground can go a long way towards effective communication. By focusing on shared interests and experiences when possible, it can help form important bonds both between nurses and with patients.
Exercising patience within a busy medical environment can be tricky; But, it’s crucial. When other nurses or patients feel like the conversation is rushed or unwanted, it can lead to feelings of negativity and stress. Try not to rush responses and avoid interrupting.
In hospitals and doctor’s offices, there are often high feelings of stress and anxiety – both by the patients and by medical staff. While it’s important to be realistic, of course, maintaining a positive attitude can help keep people at ease.
9. Maintain Respect
Whatever the underlying feelings are about a coworker or patient, everyone must be treated with the same amount of respect. When respect is prioritized, it will show, be appreciated, and often result in the other party making better communication efforts on their end as well.
10. Leave Emotions Out
As nurses, a lot of different emotions (negative and positive) can be experienced throughout the day – which is totally natural. It’s important, however, that personal feelings don’t affect how conversations are carried out.
11. Slow Down
A lot needs to be done quickly in the field of nursing. Because of this, it’s not uncommon for conversations and directions to be rushed. Unfortunately, communication that’s carried out too fast can lead to higher chances of misunderstanding. Making an attempt to slow down when speaking can help improve understanding accuracy.
● Ultimate Medical, How to Improve Your Communication Skills as a Nurse
● Nurse Choice, 10 Essential Nurse Communication Skills for Success
● AJN, Improving Communication Among Nurses, Patients, and Physicians