One of the neglected aspects in nursing is the use of therapeutic communication in the profession. For nurses to be able to perform their jobs well, they should first be able to communicate well and effectively with a wide range of people, be it their co-workers, their superiors, subordinates and patients.
Studies show a well-established link between team communication, worker morale, and patient safety. Poor team communication has been directly linked to preventable medical errors, high nurse turnover rates, and low morale. Low morale then contributes to high levels of stress, burnout, poor job satisfaction, and an overall poor quality of life.
On the other hand, the use of effective interpersonal communication strategies by nurses in both personal and professional settings, may reduce stress, promote wellness, and therefore, improve overall quality of life.
In dealing with patients
Compared to other members of the healthcare team, nurses spend the most time with patients and since time spent in the hospital is usually very stressful for both the patients and their families, resulting to them becoming impatient and angry if they feel that they are not being treated well, the nurse plays a big role in bridging any communication gap that may exist between the institution and the patient.
Furthermore, it is part of a nurse’s obligation to update patients occasionally to reduce any growing anxiety, talk to them respectfully and patiently as well as make them feel comfortable and at ease. Good communication will also help the nurse to get a lot more information out of a patient, resulting in faster diagnoses and more effective treatment plans.
However, nurses should also bear in mind to always pay attention to their patients since 80% of our communication is non-verbal. We need to pay attention to our body language, eye contact, and tone of voice when addressing patients and families.
Good communication between nurses and patients helps nurses to understand patient needs, as well asguaranteesthat they can deliver safe care and encourages patients to share their experiences, which can help healthcare professionals improve their outcomes. Furthermore, it encourages them to invest trust in healthcare professionals.
When nurses develop a relationship with their patients through communication, they can carry out interventions.
In dealing with co-workers
Nurses should not only communicate well with their patients, but it is also essential for them to have a smooth communication channel with their colleagues. Lack of communication can have severe consequences. For example, if patient files, medicines or schedules are not communicated properly, this might result to negligent patient care.
Communication with co-workers is especially important when handing over since thenurse who is taking over needs to know every little detail about the patients in their care, from their medicine schedule to their diet.
In situations where this does not occur and important information is not conveyed, treatments, medications, etc. may be missed, therefore, compromising patient safety.
Conflict among co-workers may also arise with ineffective communication and this can impact patients. However, sometimes, it can be prevented or corrected if we are aware of how our attitude may be interpreted.
Overall, we can say that effective communication in nursing is important when it comes to ensuring the delivery of safe and quality patient care as well as developing good work relationships with your co-workers. Therefore, it should not be underestimated and should be given more attention if we aim to become effective and efficient workers in this profession.