Communication skills include both verbal and non-verbal messages that people use when interacting with others. These messages can include such things as words, phrases, facial expressions, sign language, body language, gestures and voice tones.
Communication Skills for Nurses and other Healthcare Professionals
Effective communication skills are extremely important in the healthcare field. This is because they help to build and maintain strong relationships between both healthcare professionals and patients, and healthcare professionals and their associates. There are many reasons that healthcare professionals must have effective communication skills, such as:
- Explaining a diagnosis, condition or treatment
- Discussing treatments, conditions and diagnosis with patients
- Speaking with family members
- Speaking with other healthcare professionals
- Communicating bad news
- Obtaining consent for various procedures
- Calming down upset patients or relatives
- Explaining medications
- Educating people on proper diet and exercise
Nobody likes to be sick, and when some people are, they can be quite difficult to deal with since it becomes a barrier to communication. Difficult patients often seek treatment because they have to, not because they want to. Some of them are even unwillingly brought to healthcare facilities by their family or friends.
Healthcare professionals need excellent communication skills when dealing with difficult patients. These skills will help them to calm patients down and put them at ease. When medical personnel know how to communicate well with patients, they can better achieve their goal of treating and helping them.
Using effective communication skills makes it much easier to accomplish such tasks as obtaining medical histories, performing physical examinations and administering treatments.
Tips for Improving Communication Skills: Healthcare Professionals
- Always be honest with your patient. If you tell your patient you are going to do something, do it. If you were unable to do as you had promised, then give them an explanation why it was not possible or ideal for their situation.
- Be available and responsive to your patients. Nobody likes to feel ignored and patients and their families can become quite upset if they feel they are not being heard or attended. This is especially so if a patient’s diagnosis is more complicated and harder to understand.
- Take into account your patient’s cultural background when communicating with them, whenever possible. Make sure that if you hold a patient’s hand in sympathy, for example, that it is not considered an inappropriate gesture in his or her culture.
In the end, as healthcare professionals, we must put ourselves in the other person’s place when communicating with them and try to understand why they are behaving the way they are and what we can do to help them feel a little better.
Want to further your learning? Check out these useful books:
|Communication for Nurses: Talking with Patients||Communication for Nurses: How to Prevent Harmful Events and Promote Patient Safety||Therapeutic Communications for Health Care||Ending Nurse-to-Nurse Hostility: Why Nurses Eat Their Young and Each Other|
Watch this video on Effective Healthcare Communications: