Communication is vital for nurses. It is as essential to patient care as giving injections and checking blood pressure. Communication impacts every aspect of nurse-patient relationships and nurse-nurse relationships. Because of its critical value to nursing, nurses must learn how to communicate efficiently and implement measures for effective communication. Here are ways to improve communication among your nursing staff.
Active listening benefits not only nurse-patient communication but nurse-nurse communication as well. Nurses should try to lean forward, maintain eye contact, and nod their heads to let other healthcare team members know they are engaged in the conversation. Conveying understanding by repeating essential points to the speaker lets the speaker know the nurse is listening.
Situational awareness skills are a crucial part of nurse decision-making. Situational awareness allows nurses to keep up with what is happening in their work area while maintaining an understanding of any concerns that might impact healthcare delivery.
The very nature of healthcare makes it prone to mistakes, so employees must help maintain safe working environments while preventing errors. Open communication among nurses is essential for this task as it allows nurses to feel comfortable asking questions and sharing concerns.
A Standard Communication Process
Shift changes and care hand-offs demand valuable and concise information. A standard process for nurses will ensure the accurate relay of crucial information to other nurses and healthcare team members. A few tools useful for hand-off communication includes:
- SBAR (situation, background, assessment, and recommendation)
- I-PASS ( Illness severity, patient summary, action list, situation awareness, and synthesis by the receiver)
Adjust Communication for the Audience
Everybody has different communication needs. Nurses need to consider this when speaking to patients, each other, and other healthcare professionals. Nurses need specifics about the patient’s condition, tips for dealing with family members, and additional pertinent information to improve the patient’s care.
Clear Communication of Needs
Running to the nursing station, throwing down a chart, and complaining to other nurses is ineffective communication! Other nurses will not realize if their team member is venting, asking for help, dropping a hint, or something else. Nurses must speak to each other directly and clearly.
Give and Receive a Good Report
The end-of-the-shift report is crucial. It affects patient care, so it is essential to ask the right questions, such as:
- Why is this patient here?
- What do the patient’s vital signs and labs look like today?
- Are there any tests coming up for the patient?
- Is there anything critical about this patient I need to know?
An excellent report helps nurses provide better patient care while working efficiently.
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