Importance of Effective Communication in Nursing

nurse and physician examining a patient

Reviewed by Sara Moore

Effective communication is key in the healthcare field, especially for nurses. As a registered nurse, you are required to have exceptional communication skills. In addition to having clinical skills, today’s nurses must effectively communicate with doctors, other nurses, patients, and families, all while juggling the stressful demands of a clinical setting. So, before you apply for jobs at travel nursing agencies, be sure to improve your communication skills first. 

To be an effective communicator, you should be able to answer these three questions:

  1. What is effective communication?
  2. What is the importance of effective communication in Healthcare?
  3. How can nurses improve their communication skills?

Keep reading, and we will help provide answers to all of these questions! 

What is effective communication?

By definition, effective communication is communication between two or more individuals where the message is delivered successfully, received, and understood. 

When you are working in a critical care environment it is important that you are communicating to your colleagues in an effective way to ensure nothing is missed. However, there is a different level of communication that is needed when speaking to patients and family members. This level is known as therapeutic communication in nursing

While working in high-stress situations, nurse-patient communication can often become misconstrued. Nursing communication barriers can be prevalent in any setting, but in the healthcare field, it can mean life and death, especially when the message is not delivered or received in the desired way. 

Barriers that contribute to poor communication can include physical, social, psychological, or emotional barriers. Physical barriers can include things that have to do with your environment. For example, if it’s loud, busy, or unsafe. Social barriers are differences in language, religion, culture, age, and customs. Psychological or emotional barriers refer to the opinions, attitudes, and cognitive status of each person. 

Effective communicators are able to recognize each of these barriers and overcome these and work alongside the clinical team to provide the highest level of nursing care to patients. 

Ready to take the next step in your career? Learn more!

What is the importance of effective communication in healthcare?

Collaboration is key when working in the healthcare industry. This is especially true when working on a healthcare team with fellow nurses, doctors, and patients. Communication between all parties is vital to patient care and allows for nurses to be better prepared to address issues regarding patient care. 

Here are 10 effective communication skills that make a registered nurse successful: 

  1. Verbal Communication
  2. Nonverbal Communication
  3. Active Listening
  4. Written Communication
  5. Presentation Skills
  6. Patient Education
  7. Making Personal Connections
  8. Trust
  9. Cultural Awareness
  10. Compassion

How can nurses improve their communication skills?

Everyone has room to grow their communication techniques and skills, but how can nurses continue to work on their skills while handling clinical care?

The 4 simple things you can do to improve your nurse communication skills are: 

#1 Use body language

Communication goes far beyond the words you choose. Being aware of the cues you are giving off during your day is both challenging and critical. How you position yourself can affect how you are perceived, whether this is in a positive or negative manner. Eye contact is important for any conversation, it can show your interest in a certain topic and can impact your confidence when communicating further. 

#2 Work on Active Listening

To pay attention during rounds or a presentation is one thing but when you’re actively listening it can help you develop a better working relationship with other healthcare workers. One way to practice active listening is to repeat back the key points you have just heard, this can be the most engaging form of listening. 

#3 Exercise Patience

Patients, doctors, families, and even your loved ones can irritate you when you are stressed out. Try taking a deep breath or a step back from a situation. This will provide you the opportunity to gain a new perspective on a given situation. 

#4 Stay Positive

Communicating in a positive way is a great way to increase your effectiveness as a nurse. When you stay positive it is easier to communicate with patients, regarding a treatment plan with your patient and their family, in addition to members of your team. In addition, when you are staying positive in the workplace people will enjoy working with you and you will enjoy the job more as well. 

Communication in Healthcare

Communication is the best tool for healthcare workers when working in a high-stress situation or environment. With effective communication, you can improve overall patient care and your work life. So, start polishing your communication skills now and know that it’s never too late to work on them. There will always be room to grow and improve for your benefit and the benefit of those around you. 

Ready to test your skills? Speak with one of our recruiters today and we can help find you the perfect jobs! We are ready to effectively communicate all of the ways working with MAS Medical Staffing can benefit you and your career! 

Reviewed By:

Sara Moore, Human Resources Director: Sara has been with the MAS Medical Staffing for over ten years. She lives in NH and spends the majority of her time with her husband chasing their 2 kids around. She enjoys staying active, adventuring outdoors, spending time with friends and family. In Sara’s almost (nearly nonexistent) free time she enjoys her hobby of crafting!








Explore Your Career Options



Choose Your Adventure
Nursing | Allied
Per Diem

Per Diem

Design Your Schedule
Flexibility | Consistency |


Advance Your Career
Opportunity | Support |