Nursing requires extensive communication skills. Most nurses recognize this from the moment they walk on the floor. It’s a challenge, because in addition to having clinical skills, today’s nurses must be able to effectively communicate with doctors, other nurses, patients, and families, all while juggling the stressful demands of a clinical setting.
How can nurses continue to work on their communication skills while handling the clinical requirements of the job?
First, Use Body Language
Being aware of the subtle cues your body gives off during the course of your work each day is both challenging and crucial. Choosing your words is one thing, but you must also consider how to position your body so that it conveys the right messages to your audience. You can practice this by standing or sitting in front of a mirror when you’re at home. What’s your normal posture? Do you hunch over when you stand up and slouch when you’re sitting? This can make you look tired and worn out but it is also terrible for your back. If you want to look confident, stand up straight with your shoulders back.
Also, practice eye contact. Try to always maintain face-to-eye communication when you’re talking with a patient, doctor, or other clinical teams. This shows your interest and respect, but also imparts confidence in what you’re communicating.
Second Work on Active Listening
Most people know the importance of listening. In a clinical setting, using your ears and eyes and senses will help you understand what’s going on with a patient. Listening over talking during rounds can help you better diagnose and respond to a patient’s need. Actively listening to other clinical staffers can help you develop a better working relationship with the professionals around you. Active listening, where you repeat back the key points of what you’ve heard, is the most engaging form of listening. You can practice this technique with your friends and family and then bring it to bear on your healthcare role to improve your communication skills.
Third, Exercise Patients
Patients, doctors, families, and even your loved ones can be absolutely maddening when you’re stressed. But try using those breathing techniques we mentioned in our prior blog (link to blog) to exercise more patience when dealing with people during a stressful day. Exercising additional patience when talking with co-workers will help you become a more effective communicator. Taking a deep breath with a troublesome patient may be just what you needed to talk things through and find a solution.
Finally, Stay Positive
Staying positive can help you communicate with patients. For example, if you’re discussing a treatment plan with the patient and family, staying positive will make it easier to communicate with them. They may be more likely to listen and possibly even comply with your recommendations Staying positive can improve your communication with those around you and make them more likely to want to talk with you. No one likes a negative Nellie, so communicating in a positive way is a good way to increase your effectiveness as a nurse.
You can also improve your communication skills by reaching out to MAS Medical to share your work history and goals for the future. We are standing by to help you find your dream role. What are you waiting for?