In the healthcare environment, nurses relate to and deal with so many people on any given day. Nurses are taking calls from patient family members. They interact with various departments in the workplace such as custodial, dietary, and central stores. A nurse must be at the top of their game when it comes to communicating with physicians, nurse managers, and executive level leadership.
Add to the sheer number of conversations one nurse has over the course of a shift, things move quickly in healthcare. People want a response and they want it now. Lab values, heart monitors and notification alarms can hound a nurse during the entire work day. It’s no wonder communication can be a challenge in the nursing career!
To top it all off, often this ‘soft skill’ of communication is given little to no attention during nursing school. How can we spend time teaching communication skills when we have so much else to cover? Nurses need to communicate to get the job done. And they need support in having the confidence to speak up.
- Increase Empathy. When it comes to communication, we need to be aware of what others are feeling. In Melinda Fouts, Ph.D.’s article on the Confident Voices blog, she points out how crucial it is to be sensitive to how people feel. Fouts reminds us that we also need to attempt to understand the other person’s point of view as we communicate with our professional colleagues.
- Bring in Resources. There are plenty of nurse experts out there who teach on effective communication styles. In fact, during The Art of Nursing 2.0 in 2015, I was able to interview many of the nurse authors, speakers and consultants who teach communication skills. In this post on communication in nursing, various styles are mentioned and resources are shared to help nursing teams relate to each other.
- Allow for Success. One thing nurses are notorious for doing is hiding in the shadows. In fact, at a committee meeting just the other day, a nurse was recognized for an accomplishment and what was her response? “Oh it was nothing; I was merely on the team. Thanks, though.” Talk about a lack of confidence! We have to let nurses know that celebrating our successes and sharing the word of them with others is NOT a bad thing. In Nurse Keith’s podcast, he offers resources on how nurses can be more confident in standing up for themselves.
I’d love to hear from our readers. What tips above have you tried and what was your experience like? What are some other suggestions you can add to this list? Please share a comment below so we can support each other in creating confident communication in nursing.
About the Author: As a keynote speaker, bestselling author and virtual conference host, Elizabeth partners with hospitals, organizations, associations, and nursing groups to help transform the field of nursing from the inside out. During the National Nurse’s Week online conference, ‘The Art of Nursing‘, Elizabeth supports nurses in achieving professional goals of continued learning and development. Click here to find out more about how The Art of Nursing appreciates and celebrates our profession in a meaningful way.