Effective Communication Is A Key Skill In The Nursing Profession
Pegasus skilled in-home caregivers in Thousand Oaks and elsewhere use vocabulary that their patients can understand. They replace “medicalese” with everyday terminology whenever possible. Career home health care nurses know that effective communication is a key skill in the nursing profession.
Communication is the exchange of ideas, thoughts, or information. You accomplish it in several ways, including texts, email, or mail, among other methods. As a home care nurse, you’ll most likely communicate via in-person interactions.
Effective communication starts with expressing yourself using what some call the 5 Cs. These include speaking:
- Clearly – before you say anything, know what you want your patient to understand or what information you want from the patient.
- Correctly – you may need to question your patient before you can convey accurate information.
- Completely – depending on your patient’s cognitive ability, you may have to impart one piece of information in several short sentences.
- Concisely – keep to the point and focus on the information you want to convey or learn.
- Compassionately – gain an understanding of what your patient needs rather than relying on your assumptions.
Knowing your audience is essential for effective communication. Consider your patient’s age, education, culture, and knowledge when choosing appropriate words. Learn whether your patient prefers “Just the facts, ma’am,” or whether they like lots of details and supplementary information.
Listening Is An Essential Part Of Effective Communication
Effective communication includes comprehension of what the other person says. That happens when you truly listen. Authentic listening is more than just hearing spoken words.
When you’re listening, you may pick up little inflections in your patient’s speech. Those can enlighten you as to what they’re really feeling or thinking. Consider the following to improve your listening skills:
- Be aware of what your patient’s body language is conveying. Additionally, keep your body language open to show that you’re listening.
- Concentrate on what the speaker is saying rather than planning your reply or thinking of other things. You’ll miss subtleties of what your patient is expressing when your mind is elsewhere.
- Don’t interrupt. You may have to exercise judgment here. Your patient may be lonely and ramble on and on to a captive audience. Gently redirect them to talk about their health. Avoid making the conversation about you unless a personal anecdote will draw out reliable information from them.
- Incline your head slightly so that you’re hearing with your right ear. That’s because the left side of your brain processes speech and emotions. The right side of your body connects to the left side of your brain. Listening with your right ear means you hear nuances that are otherwise undetectable.
- Maintain interest in what they’re saying. Show your interest with smiles, leaning in, or brief verbal encouragement. You may sometimes need to ask questions for clarity.
Listening attentively helps avoid misunderstandings.
Patient Care Includes Communicating Effectively With Families
Many of the skills and tips described above can be applied to interactions with family caregivers. Because they provide care when you aren’t there, it’s essential that they grasp the instructions you may give them. You must also clearly understand any information they provide about their loved one.
It may appear that the patient or family member comprehends your explanation. But selective hearing is part of human nature.
Some individuals hear only what they want to hear. Others may “spin” what you tell them so that it matches their preferences. Either way can be detrimental to their health.
“Teach-back” is feedback that alleviates misunderstandings. Ask your patient to tell you in their own words what you’ve just told them. That provides an opportunity to remedy any misconceptions.
Keep in mind that teach-back isn’t a test of the patient’s ability to understand. It’s an evaluation of your ability to communicate effectively. Learn from it to improve your skills.
Learn To Communicate Effectively With Other Professionals
You must also be able to communicate effectively, often via the written word, with other professionals. That includes specialists that are part of your Pegasus team as well as others. You’ll need to consult with physicians, administrators, and your colleagues.
Communicating effectively in writing uses some of the skills you developed for in-person interactions. Additionally, strive for grammatical accuracy and correct spelling. Whether speaking or writing, avoid jargon and obscure terminology.
When you communicate effectively with individuals, you form a connection with them. You and they fully understand what each means. It builds trust in your professional relationships.
You have invested money and time into your nursing education. But your medical training and expertise may not advance your career as quickly as you would like. You may need to take additional steps to improve your communication skills.
You often employ different techniques with colleagues than with patients. But whether speaking with patients or professionals, effective communication is essential. Your skill helps ensure patient safety and well-being as they receive the care they require.
Pegasus is a licensed Home Care Organization and a Joint Commission Accredited Home Health Care organization. Our in-home caregivers in Thousand Oaks and our other locations know that effective communication is a key skill. We provide the training and support our career home health care nurses desire to advance in their profession.