Shadowing a DoctorSeptember 3, 2014
Outstanding communication skills are an essential attribute in nursing. For nurses to be able to do their job efficiently they will have to communicate with a wide range of people, from patients and co-workers to their superiors and subordinates as well as the numerous family and friends that call upon the patient during their stay in the hospital. Such communication will be an integral part of daily work.
Being able to communicate and get the message across clearly can save a lot of time and make the work load a lot easier but that’s not the only consequence. Bad or ineffective communication can take a bad situation and make it worse. It leads to a host of problems, doubles the work that needs to be done and could even endanger a patient’s life. These are just some of the reasons why it is necessary for all nurses to sharpen and practice their communication skills so that they can improve.
Importance of communication in dealing with patients
Patient communication is crucial. Because the time spent at a hospital is usually stressful for patients and their families, they often tend to get impatient and angry if they feel that they are not being treated well. It’s up to the nurse to be able to bridge any communication gap that may exist between the institution and the patient. It is part of a nurse’s responsibility to update patients periodically to ease any growing anxiety, speak to them politely and patiently and make them feel comfortable and at ease. A nurse who is good at communicating can also get a lot more information out of a patient, resulting in quicker diagnoses and more effective treatment plans. Patients may not remember the name of a nurse 5 years later but they will remember the treatment received during their stay at the hospital.
Importance of communication in dealing with co-workers
In order for any institution to function properly, it is necessary for the staff to communicate properly. This is even more important in a healthcare facility where lives are at stake. Since nurses usually hold a hospital together, it is essential that they have a smooth communication channel. Lack of communication can have severe consequences. If patient files, medicines or schedules are not communicated properly, this would filter down as negligent patient care. Communication with co-workers is particularly important when handing over as the nurse who is taking over needs to know every little detail about the patients in their care, from their medicine schedule to their diet.
If you are planning on pursuing a career in nursing, it is important to work on your communication skills because they will help you right through your career, whether it is in facilitating easier communication with your patients and co-workers or in being considered for a promotion.
It is also necessary to remember that communication is not just about words. Very often, almost 80% of communication happens through body language. This includes any form of hand gestures, eye movements and changes in behaviour. If you are practicing your communication skills, remember to keep these in mind too. Just small changes in the way you communicate your message can make a world of difference.
Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives and dentists – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training.