The healthcare sector is highly dependent on effective communication. Nurses and other medical staff rely on effective communication with the patient to diagnose and deliver the best quality of care. Therefore, it is crucial for aspiring nurses to hone their communication skills.
What is effective communication in nursing?
According to Merriam-webster dictionary, communication is the act or process of using words, sounds, signs, or behaviors to express or exchange information or to express your thoughts or feelings to someone else. In nursing, effective communication is defined as exchanging information, thoughts, and feelings among people using speech or other means such as a patient conveying their fears and concerns to their nurse to make a correct diagnosis.
Principles of communication.
This is a summary of principles of communication:
- Communication is a process;
- It is not linear, but circular;
- Communication is complex;
- Communication is irreversible and
- It comprises total personality.
4 Types of communication.
- Verbal communication.
- Non-verbal communication.
- Written communication.
- Visual communication.
Verbal communication involves all communication that uses spoken words or unspoken words as in sign language. It is crucial to understand how to effectively express your ideas by communicating verbally. This helps to avoid misunderstandings which can lead to adverse effects in the healthcare sector.
Most experts agree that about 70% of all communication is non-verbal. This means that verbal communication is only a small part of the pie. In order to achieve effective communication, nurses should ensure that they use their tone, body language, facial expressions, hand movements, and eye contact accordingly.
Written communication is a form of verbal communication; however, it is a special kind that speaks using words in writing.
Therefore, any form of writing such as letters, texts, or notes is very essential in exchanging information in a health care setting.
Visual communication such as using slide presentations, diagrams, drawings, and illustrations when incorporated with other communication styles is a creative way of conveying your message in an interesting way.
This type of communication also increases information retention while still increasing audience attention.
7+ Effective communication skills in nursing.
Excellent verbal communication skills – speaking with patients clearly, accurately, and honestly helps to perform a good nursing diagnosis.
- Incorporating non-verbal communication cues in your speech.
- Active listening. – This type of listening requires complete attention and engagement. For example, nodding your head and never interrupting your patient when he/she is talking.
- Using effective written communication is very essential especially in nurse-to-nurse communication.
- Having creative and efficient presentation skills.
- Patient education – patient teach-back is an effective communication strategy for addressing patients.
- Making personal connections. For example, knowing the person behind the patient, which helps the patient to feel comfortable and safe.
- Inspiring trust – you can gain trust by listening actively and taking every concern seriously.
- Cultural awareness – As a nurse, you are likely to meet with people who come from a wide range of cultural, social, and educational backgrounds. Having cultural awareness will help you to interact with these people more effectively.
- Showing compassion – compassion is an important skill for nurses. Conveying compassion helps the patient to feel safe and comfortable around you.
Importance of effective communication in nursing.
There are several benefits of effective communication in nursing.
Some of these benefits include:
- Immediate understanding of a patient’s condition and needs.
- Understanding the emotional state of the patient.
- Keeping track of changes in care.
- Advocating for patients.
- Comprehending the social determinants of health.
- Identifying specialized needs.
To conclude, using effective communication and therapeutic communication in healthcare settings is very essential in developing patient-nurse relationships. If proper communication does not occur naturally to you, it is important to take time and practice effective communication skills. This will help you to connect well with patients and other healthcare workers leading to the deliverance of better quality care.