The importance of good communication is best illustrated by incidents where opponents had a disagreement on what was really said or who said what to whom. You may have also encountered situations where no one knew what the real story was because of poor communication.
Because of these common scenarios, people must cultivate effective communications through various means, be it through phone conversations, in-person meetings, or video conferencing if distance warrants it.
Communication needs to be clear and concise for everyone involved. It should efficiently convey necessary information and avoid overdoing it with excessive content that will not add value to the message – a notion that is particularly important in the domain of healthcare.
The Importance Of Good Communication For Medical Professionals
Communicating effectively with a patient is vital. It enables the doctor or nurse to establish a rapport and allows the patient to understand the information or treatment being discussed.
It is a two-way street here; patients can be confused by medical jargon, so having medical professionals come across as friendly and approachable will help them in their decision-making process.
While most medical professionals may not need to be outwardly friendly, it does go a long way toward establishing credibility with prospective patients and their families in general. You must also remember that you are representing your professional self to a jury of peers, so try to avoid using inappropriate slang or slang-like expressions when addressing patients.
Effective Communication Techniques For Nurses
As a nurse in the medical field, being able to communicate with your patients is crucial, as you do not want to leave them misinformed.
With this in mind, here are a few ways you can learn to communicate better with your patients and show understanding to them:
Practice Active Listening
Who would have thought that the first tip about communication is actually to engage in better listening? Learning active listening is a critical skill because it helps a patient feel that they are being heard and understood.
Nurses should also make eye contact while they listen, look at the whole person (not just their mouth), show no distractions that may cause them to miss what the patient is saying, and nod their head to show understanding – all without interrupting or dismissing the patient. Plus, this part also means using good body language, which is another meaningful way of communicating with your patients.
Show Good Leadership Skills
Being a good leader is not just telling people what to do; it is also about getting them to follow you. The importance of leadership in nursing entails communicating with patients confidently and showing your coworkers that you are a good leader, which encourages them to listen and follow your teaching. Additionally, this is also a great way of showing respect to your patients.
Nurses may make mistakes while communicating with patients, but they can learn from these situations and make adjustments to their techniques in order to maintain better patient communication practices – which are especially fundamental for nurses in a position of leadership.
Being able to remain connected with your patients is another aspect that nurses should take into consideration, as it will help them empathize more with patients. Your patients may not be able to express their feelings or thoughts verbally, but they can do so by showing the right gestures.
They may also have one or two words that they feel are relevant, so make sure you learn these words and use them as a response when asked a question or when your patient is trying to talk or explain something.
Also, make sure you have ways to show your continued regard for them while they’re with you. Let them know that you’re there when they need help and answer any questions they may have.
Build Rapport With Your patients
A close rapport with a patient is a good way of communicating effectively because it shows that the two of you understand and trust each other. It also shows that you’ve connected with your patients in a way that makes them feel comfortable talking to you.
Use your body language and a warm, inviting tone of voice to show them that they are welcome to speak their minds around you. You should also give them time to express their thoughts and feelings, as it is important for them to feel like they’ve had their say before moving on with the conversation.
This approach builds mutual respect between you and your patients. It allows for open communication when working together toward achieving health goals while providing a safe environment for the exchange of opinions, requests, and concerns.
Some personalities tend to be shy, some favor an audience, while others do not want attention drawn to them. Whatever the case, you as the nurse need to identify which one your patient is and use this trait while communicating with them.
Ditch The Jargon
Patients need to know information, but they aren’t medical experts, so they won’t have a clue about the medical language you know and use. Therefore, it is important to ditch any medical jargon that you may be using and instead use simple, understandable terms in order to help your patients understand you.
Try to explain things using the terms they use in everyday life – the same words that they would use when discussing with family and friends, for example. As a nurse, you need to communicate effectively with your patients while being able to connect with them on a personal level, and that starts with using easy language and simple terminology.
Use Technology To Help Communicate In A More Effective Manner
Technology is helpful in a number of ways. Still, you may find that it can often hinder communication by taking away some of the time spent on face-to-face communication, replacing it with email or text messages instead. This is not the way to go, and you must make sure that you communicate with your patients in a face-to-face manner as often as possible.
Try to use technology to enhance communication with your patients instead of replacing it. For instance, sending them digital copies of medical information via email can be a good way of making them feel like they have retained the knowledge gained through their meeting with you. It also allows you to manage any changes made after the patient has left your care.
Use Body Language Wisely
As mentioned, body language is a fundamental part of communicating effectively with your patients. It can be used to show that you’re listening and that you understand what the patient is saying. For example, if the patient is sitting down and talking to you, they can nod their head to show that they’re following your instructions. You can do this, too, during your explanations or when communicating with a patient about their physical state.
On the other hand, having a fist with all five fingers curled inward is often a gesture exhibited by patients who don’t want to talk or tell you something. This gesture usually means that they don’t want to discuss anything further, so try to avoid asking any more questions if you spot this sign.
Work With Your Patients
It is beneficial for you and your patients to work together, especially when performing a treatment. You may find that it will help a patient be more active in their treatment since they now have someone to rely on, and the two of you are working together toward a common goal.
Properly working with your patient while undergoing treatment and discussions shows that you care about their well-being, and they will feel like they’ve been listened to before moving on. This may also make them feel more at ease talking with medical professionals too.
How Effective Communication Can Impact Patient Outcomes
Some communication barriers could increase patients’ risk of worsening health issues, self-harm, or even suicide. When attempting to communicate with a patient who is using an advanced directive or advance refusal, choose appropriate words and respect your patient’s autonomy.
Nurses should also consider the needs, expectations, and culture of a patient’s ethnic group when communicating with them. Conversely, in some cultures, conversation indicates interest in learning about the person and establishes rapport, which nurses can use to enhance their communication and develop good relationships with their patients.
Overall, the proper nurse-patient relationship is an area where effective communication is critical to the coordination of care and quality of life of every single patient – no matter who they are and where they come from. Good communication allows for reduced risk of problems, a better experience for patients, and easier work for nurses, which is why it’s an important part of nurse training – even long after they have graduated.
When it comes to communicating with your patients, you need to be able to explain things calmly and carefully using simple terms so that they can understand you. You also need to present yourself professionally and use body language and eye contact wisely to connect with your patients on a personal level and ensure they are comfortable opening up to you.
Ultimately, patients must have an open line of communication with their nurses so that they can freely express themselves in terms of any issues or concerns about their condition and treatment. This provides a safe environment for the exchange of opinions, requests, and concerns, and nurses are the key figures who are at the steering wheel, driving toward good communication and the excellent patient care that comes as a result.