Communication Skills for Nurses

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Active listening

It requires skills and simultaneously the sincere intention of the nurse to understand what concerns the patient. It is a reflection of the knowledge of the participants, the way they think and feel and their capabilities 5. In order for the nurses to be successful in their work they have to study communication and interpersonal relations in their education with special courses and internships. They need to learn the various aspects and applications of communication in various fields of nursing 6.

In this context it is understood that emphasis must be placed on the importance of communication between nurse and patient and nursing education must focus on communication skills of nurses. Communication can be defined as a transaction and message creation. The entire process occurs in a context consisting of physical space, cultural and social values and psychological conditions 7. Communication assists in the performance of accurate, consistent and easy nursing work, ensuring both the satisfaction of the patient and the protection of the health professional.

When health professionals are not trained in communication skills, they face more difficulties separating work from their personal life, tending to transfer problems from one side to the other 8. Communication is an intrinsic characteristic of human nature. Nobody cannot communicate. Communication has content and value. The contents regards to what was said, whilst the relationship regards as to how it was said. The nature of the relationship depends on how the two parties understand the communication sequence 9.

Communication is never unidirectional. It is an interaction in which each sender becomes receiver and vice versa. The failure to recognize the two-way communication capability, quite often leads to negative conclusions and attitudes Moreover, the message sent is not the same as the message received. The decoding of the messages is based on individual factors and subjective perceptions. This fact, in conjunction with the process of feedback makes communication. We interpret something that we heard not according to what the sender actually said but according to our own code Particular attention should be given by the caregivers to use technical terms and medical terminology during their contact with the ill, because it is often found that the patient ascribes different interpretations to what he hears or even more cannot understand what is meant exactly, mainly by the therapist, thus increasing mental stress, a fact which makes it more difficult to communicate with the patient Communication happens without words.

It is an ongoing process. This non-verbal communication is expressed by facial expressions, gestures, posture and physical barriers such as distance from the interlocutor It is important that there is an agreement between verbal and nonverbal communication. Particularly under stressful conditions where it is difficult to see the changes in the non-verbal messages of the patients with whom we mostly communicate Moreover, each patient has his own specific characteristics that influence not only behavior in the process of communication, but also if and how to cooperate with nursing services and how they will undertake self-management of health Listening is important in communication.

It is responsible nursing practice and requires concentration of attention and mobilization of all the senses for the perception of verbal and non-verbal messages emitted by each patient. Good personal relationships are described as the ability of the nurse to ask questions with kindness and provide information in a way that does not scare, that demonstrates interest, creates feelings of acceptance, trust and a harmonious relationship, especially in modern multicultural society The therapeutic relationship is an important prerequisite to effective communication between health professionals and patients in order not only to transmit information, but also to effectively address mental processes which are activated by it.

The communication between health professionals and patients include the ability to express sincere concern for the care of the patient and the patient becomes a partaker of this interest 9. Communication between health officials-in this case nurses-and patient is a process that begins with the first contact of the two and lasts as long as the therapeutic relationship.

This will happen if the conversation is held in appropriate conditions. Even though it seems obvious, it should be noted that courtesy and kindness on part of the nurse is required 4 , A key element is the need for a peaceful environment with no external distractions, which will ensure appropriate confidentiality of the dialogue.

Frequently we see the phenomenon of serious discussions taking place in the middle of the corridor of the outpatient department or the nursing department, clinic, or in some office of the hospital, in which third parties unrelated to the care of the individual patient are coming in and out In such an environment the patients are ashamed to express themselves freely Unfortunately, the concept of privacy is pretty much unknown to the Greek hospital system.

5 Communication Techniques for Nurse Leaders

Skilled nursing operations for the patients are made in chambers without screens or in hallways, in front of others. Patients and visitors of hospitals move without restriction in all the areas of the nursing and clinical departments. However, it is up to us to teach our colleagues and especially the new nurses and their patients setting the right example, in order for things to slowly change for the better Even more than the comfort of space, communication with the patient requires ample time. Each patient has his own way and pace to reveal his problem, but it takes some time to get to know the nurses and feel the confidence necessary to face them.

The patient should have the feeling that the time-whether it is five minutes or an hour-is entirely his.

The patient who has the undivided attention of the nurse reveals his problem sooner, with the satisfaction that the nurse has listened and observed him The language he uses for this purpose is very important. Often the patient is bombarded with big words with little or no significance for him Once again the nurse may be directed to the ill in an incomprehensible way. Patients that are ashamed of their ignorance or are hesitant, avoid seeking an explanation, and as a result the consultation is inadequate and does not lead to the right outcome for the patient. The language of communication should therefore be at the level of the listener, who is not able to assess our scientific knowledge, but has to understand what we are telling him Another important requirement for proper and successful communication between nurses and patients is frankness and honesty.

The discussion with the patient should leave no suspicions, doubts and misunderstandings. Communication as already stated is bidirectional, but the nurse or other health professional is responsibility for its proper conduct. Moreover, depending on the psychosynthesis it can be more or less calm. Reactions such as anger, disbelief, moaning, aggression and denial of reality are known defence mechanisms, which are recruited to help him adjust to the new situation he is facing 8 , The angry patient usually does not have any previous personal differences with health professionals, although they are the direct recipients of his anger.

Communication in Nursing - Nurse-to-Nurse Communication Skills

The latter should understand and accept these mechanisms which serve the underlying anxiety of the patient and to respond with information, awareness and readiness to provide all possible assistance Finally, people differ in their needs for communication. Some expect or require patient listening, without caring much about the answers.

Others want a specific explanation for everything that happens to them. These different needs should be treated accordingly by the nurses, who should be able to detect what each patient wants What of course in any case should be avoided by the caregivers is silence and indifference to the questions of the patient. In the best cases, the patient will leave disappointed and in the worst really indignant with nurses 9. It is not only based on an innate ability that varies from person to person, but also on the necessary training and experience that one acquires during exercise The need also for education in communication has been recognized worldwide 6.

The results of this will be to demonstrate greater understanding among patients with greater benefit to patients and personal satisfaction to nurses in the performance of nursing Good communication also improves the quality of care provided to patients, which is observed in the results.

Additionally, it is considered an inalienable right and a prerequisite for building a genuine and meaningful relationship between patients and nurses and other health professionals So in order for modern Nursing as a service to humans to realize the project, there is a need for dialogue and a good interpersonal climate that develops personally with each sick person, especially in our modern multicultural society.

Why Are Communication Skills So Essential for Nurses? - Minority Nurse

The best expertise training and continuing education of nurses in matters relating to the proper technique of communication will enable them to respond adequately and humanely to the expectations of patients. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Journal List Mater Sociomed v. Mater Sociomed. Published online Feb Lambrini Kourkouta 1 and Ioanna V. Papathanasiou 2.

Chapter 2: Communicating with Older Patients

Ioanna V. Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Corresponding author: Ioanna V. Nursing Department. Technological Educational Institute of Larissa, Greece. E-mail: rg. Received Nov 11; Accepted Feb This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC.

Organizations should begin to develop teach-back skills by creating a leadership team or identifying an initiative champion, says the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality AHRQ. Next, they should begin staff training. Training should highlight the goals for patient teach-back as well as example prompts for the strategy i. Organizations must also educate patients about the teach-back tactic. Nurses should emphasize that the strategy is not a test or a judgement on the patient.

10 Essential Nurse Communication Skills for Success

Instead, patient teach-back is a tool to gauge patient understanding and to help nurses determine where they need to better explain a concept. Teach-back is also an important part of family and caregiver education. Nurses need to make sure family caregivers are well-educated about patient health needs to better assist the patient after discharge.

Nurses, like other clinicians, must also make sure they meet patients at the appropriate health literacy level when discussing health concepts. According to a Bradley University guide on patient education , best practices include:. Nurses should also rely on the printed patient education materials available. Most hospitals have printed educational brochures, digital tools, or information on the patient portal, a website, or in the EHR. Patient education materials allow patients and family members to review information in their own time , according to Kumiko O.

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Schnock and Gazarian developed their own digital framework for patient education in the ICU, finding that the tool helps patients learn about their health during a scary and complicated time in their lives. Bedside tablets contain a host of tools that help patients become acquainted with the hospital and their care teams, promoting a more positive experience during their hospital stay.

This digital approach is not intended to entirely replace patient-provider relationships, but enhance them, Bednar asserted. Traditionally, nurse call lights have been used to alert nurses of a certain patient need. However, call buttons do not always communicate specific patient needs. Voice-controlled systems may not be effective for patients with language barriers , for example.

A study found that a bedside call button tool that utilizes short phrases and pictures improves both nurse and patient satisfaction with the tool.

Bedside displays can be simpler for patients to use, therefore enhancing patient experience. In turn, nurses are better able to anticipate patient needs and allocate their own resources accordingly. Health technology also has its drawbacks. Providers face numerous quality reporting requirements that often leave nurses spending more time looking at their screens than their patients.


Research has shown that patients notice this lapse in meaningful communication, and it often negatively impacts patient satisfaction. Health technology and associated reporting requirements are likely not going away. Instead, nurses need to reconcile meeting documentation requirements with their interpersonal skills to create a positive patient experience.

Communication Skills for Nurses Communication Skills for Nurses
Communication Skills for Nurses Communication Skills for Nurses
Communication Skills for Nurses Communication Skills for Nurses
Communication Skills for Nurses Communication Skills for Nurses
Communication Skills for Nurses Communication Skills for Nurses
Communication Skills for Nurses Communication Skills for Nurses
Communication Skills for Nurses Communication Skills for Nurses
Communication Skills for Nurses Communication Skills for Nurses
Communication Skills for Nurses

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