Essential Nurse Communication Skills: Best Guide
Learning essential nurse communication skills should be a section of nurse education in college school. In a hospital setting, nurses interact the most with the patients, and you can find them nearly everywhere. Effective communication in nursing brings a positive patient experience while receiving nursing care.
In nursing, essential nurse communication skills mean handling every patient to understand their opinions, experience, and concern and building a connection. Since the nurse deals with patients with different needs, a lack of effective nurse communication skills and strategies could pose a significant challenge to the nurse and the patient.
This is about patient education, interpersonal connection, and building of trust between the parties and patient engagement technologies. When the nurse successfully meets these, they have met the patient’s medical and emotional needs, and can say they have met their other job demands as well.
Communication in Nursing Practice
Communication in nursing practice means using verbal and non-verbal communication skills to exchange feelings, thoughts, and information among people within the healthcare system. Effective communication in nursing enables patients to convey their concerns and fears to their nurses. This helps them get the correct treatment for their illnesses. The nurse can communicate well to help eradicate the chances of mistreatment, boost the patient’s confidence and generally hasten the patient’s recovery.
You might ask, “What are the basic communication skills in nursing?” Below in this article are the various essential nurse communication skills.
Nurses use elements of nonverbal communication such as facial expression, gestures, tone, and direct eye contact with the patient to communicate that they are paying attention and care about what the person is telling them. These elements are essential for creating rapport.
As a nurse, smiling can significantly impact your relationship with your patient. Sitting down and listening to what they say without staring or judging can help a nurse learn about the patient’s situation helping in determining the diagnosis.
· Verbal Communication
Excellent verbal communication is an essential skill for nurses. Nurses should speak accurately, clearly, and honestly, using complete sentences and a professional tone. Knowing the kind of audience, you are talking to regarding health literacy level, age, and culture helps the nurses communicate appropriately.
Ensure you use correct grammar when communicating verbally with nurse colleagues, patients, families, doctors, and other healthcare staff. Don’t let your feelings alter your interaction when going through a mental breakdown.
Using extensive medical/technical jargon and pet names may create a communication barrier between the patient and the nurse. It is important to ask patients questions and probe further using their most preferred communication method.
Even though you may be going through a mental breakdown or a difficult phase in your life, ensure you maintain focus on your patient as you engage with them. When you try to be present with your patient, they will notice, even if that effort is the simple act of making eye contact. The acts of showing love and compassion are essential nurse communication skills. When interacting with the patient, express care and ensure they notice your presence. Patients can be going through so much pain or anxiety, and delivering compassion can shorten their recovery period and make them feel appreciated.
Active listening means settling and listening to the patient to understand their opinions, concern, or experience. The best way to actively listen is by paying attention to understand the other person’s side of the story. The highest and most effective form of listening requires complete concentration and engagement.
This skill requires the nurse not to interrupt the patients while they are communicating and to use words like “go on,” “I understand,” or “Help me understand.” That helps to build commitment and trust.
· Personal Space
Nurses-to-nurse communication occurs within the social zone to maintain work boundaries. They often come to the patient’s personal space when providing patient care. Invading the patient’s privacy can cause psychological discomfort. The nurse should also consider the patient’s preferences when providing care to ensure they are as comfortable as possible.
· Written Communication
This type of communication skill is essential when it comes to nurse-to-nurse communication. A nurse’s work is closely monitoring, recording, updating, and communicating a patient’s medical situation to the nurses handling the patient or doctors. A nurse should accurately write a patient’s medical report and present it. That is because it determines the patient’s best treatment possible.
As a nurse, remember to use simple language to record the patient’s medical state after every monitoring process, update the record, note down changes, and ensure that the timings and dates are up to date. That will help to reduce the cases of misdiagnosis. Ensure that the patient’s medical reports don’t fall into unauthorized hands.
· Presentation Skills
Presentation skills are most effective when the nurses are switching patients. That mostly happens when nurses complete their shifts. The nurse on duty should have the skill of organizing the patient’s medical report, stating the current medicines the patient is under, specifying allergens, if any, indicating the pain management plan and pain levels, and the discharge instructions given by the physician.
A well-presented medical report helps to lower the chances of putting the patient at risk when being attended to by the incoming nurse. Nurses act as patient advocates. During the policy-making process, a nurse has to communicate patient needs. Thus, possessing presentation skills helps them present ideas and proposals and explain them better to the hospital management.
· Patient Education
Nurses link the patients with their families and healthcare staff. They provide information on the patient’s health, diagnosis, medication protocols, and treatment plans. Primary healthcare nurses mostly play this role.
They educate the patients on how to care for their medical needs once they leave the hospital. Patient education includes administering injections, monitoring vitals, dietary plans, treatment at home, and providing health counseling and homemade equipment such as oxygen tanks.
As a nurse, you will interact with colleagues and provide healthcare to patients from different religious, cultural, social, educational, and economic backgrounds. It is always important to be aware of the patient background to provide care without offending or making them uncomfortable.
· Making Personal Connections
When a patient opens up and engages with you emotionally, they most likely have confidence in their health. In most cases, these patients will likely seek your services the next time they need medical attention or recommend you to their peers. Making deep connections with patients enables you to understand people differently and know how to provide care to them.
As a nurse, you can connect with the patient by listening to their childhood stories, spending some time with the patient chatting, letting them know something about you, and showing interest in their personal life.
Trust in the nurse–patient relationship enables the patient to engage in the process of healthcare provision to them. A nurse can build trust with their patient by respecting them, paying attention to time, meeting their needs, continuing to offer care, and paying attention to details.
When there is mutual trust between the nurse and patient, the patient can freely collaborate with the medical team to improve their health. As a nurse, you can build mutual trust with your patients by sharing freely with them, admitting their faults, and always speaking the truth.
Why Is Communication Important in Nursing?
Some of the importance of communication in nursing include;
· Communication enhances understanding of a patient’s needs
The nurses are the primary caregivers to the patients. They assess their condition and monitor and evaluate the patient’s medical condition. Building a rapport with the patient will enable them to acquire important information that can aid in patient treatment.
· It helps in understanding the emotional state of patients
During their day-to-day interactions with the patients, nurses understand their patients’ mental, physical, and emotional states. Connecting with the patient at a personal level help the nurses to acquire information that can aid in choosing an appropriate treatment plan to fasten the patient’s healing process.
· It helps nurses to understand health determinants
Health determinants include environmental, social, and physical conditions that affect a human’s health. The nurse understands how a lack of basic needs such as food, shelter, clothing, and medicine can affect the patient’s health. Effective communication in nursing helps healthcare providers understand their patient’s social determinants and improve their condition.
· It helps in tracking changes in care
Regular communication with the patient helps the nurses to understand their concerns and needs and advocate for a change in the healthcare system. Communication also allows nurses and medical care providers to track patient healing processes.
· It aids in identifying specialized needs
The patient’s cultural, religious, social, and economic needs are some of the specialized needs that a nurse might identify when providing care to the patient. Acquiring specialized patient needs helps the nurse communicate with the right individuals and ensure they meet them. The goal is to ensure patients receive quality care without compromising their needs.
What are the 5 Cs of communication in healthcare?
Nurses and other medical staff must follow a particular protocol to deliver quality patient care when providing health care services. These protocols fall into the 5Cs of care. You might be asking, “What are the 5 Cs of communication in healthcare?”
The 5C’s of communication in healthcare include compassion, commitment, care, communication, and competence.
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