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What are effective communication skills in nursing practice?

Nursing staff communicates with other care workers during a meeting.

Importance of effective communication skills in nursing practice

Effective communication in nursing is one of the most crucial components of the care profession, as nurses are the front-line professionals that provide assistance to patients and liaise with other members of the healthcare team. They communicate with patients, family members, doctors, specialists, and other support staff who are involved in patient care. Thus, it is important for them to have effective communication skills. 

In this article, we will learn what communication skills are in nursing and the importance of them. 

What are communication skills in nursing?

Communication is the exchange of information, thoughts, and feelings between people via voice or other means. In healthcare, patients and their families convey their worries and concerns to the nurse to help them make the correct decision regarding the client's treatment. 

Communication aids in the execution of correct, consistent, and accessible nursing work, ensuring the patient's happiness and the health professional's safety. When health professionals do not possess communication skills, they have difficulty articulating what others are saying and find it challenging to guide or support others. Good communication skills are required while working with other healthcare providers. Moreover, nurses who take the time to listen to patients' concerns are better prepared to address issues as they arise, resulting in better patient outcomes. 

Why are communication skills important in nursing in the UK?

Approaching each patient's engagement with the intention of understanding their problems, experiences, and thoughts is what effective communication entails. Active listening, patient demonstration approaches, and verbal and nonverbal communication skills are required for registered nurses. Effective communication skills in nursing are particularly critical for sustaining nurses' health, as they are frequently overworked, under pressure, and subjected to adverse conditions. Such situations make them overlook their own needs and well-being to help others, which can affect their mental and physical health. 

6 reasons why communication skills are important in nursing

1. Effective communication in nursing is critical in analysing a patient's response to treatment: 

Nurses must learn to communicate vocally with patients as well as understand nonverbal clues that may indicate a change in their patient's condition. For example, a subtle change in the patient's behaviour may go unnoticed by others, but a nurse should be able to identify such changes. 

2. Communication with patients and families helps them relieve stress and improve patient outcomes: 

The fear of the unknown can cause undue stress for patients and their families, and nurses can alleviate some of the stress the clients and their loved ones face. Thus, it becomes important to keep communicating openly and honestly. 

3. Effective communication skills in nursing care can reduce the risk of errors in patient care: 

By communicating with one another and documenting when care is provided or withheld, the likelihood of errors related to treatment lessens. 

4. Effective communication skills in nursing will help identify special needs: 

Many clients have needs that extend beyond their immediate medical concerns. For example, you could be assigned to a patient with a history of diabetes who requires a particular diabetic diet or one who has religious views that forbid them from participating in certain activities. Taking the time to discuss your patient's medical history and personal preferences is essential for developing care plans conducive to their physical and mental well-being

5. Communication with your clients will help you identify and understand the social determinants impacting their health:

Lack of permanent housing, poverty, food insecurity, and unemployment are all connected with increased rates of chronic health disorders that lead to morbidity and mortality. Communicating with patients to understand the socioeconomic determinants affecting them is critical for designing care plans that address these concerns and improve patient outcomes. 

6. Communication skills in nursing are vital for understanding the status of your patient's emotional and physical well-being:

Nurses often spend more time with patients than other types of providers. Nurses can deliver care on a deeper, more personal level if they use strong communication skills. 

What are the 6 must-have communication skills for nursing?

Each patient has distinctive characteristics that influence how they communicate, such as their willingness to collaborate with nurses and manage their own health. Nursing staff uses various communication skills while interacting with patients and other healthcare professionals. Below are some of them: 

1. Verbal communication: 

Nurses use several modes of communication to assist patients and their families in understanding healthcare requirements and treatments. Verbal communication is one of the most efficient means of communication. Nursing personnel who use medical jargon or slang, on the other hand, may unintentionally create a barrier to their verbal communication procedures. Nurses should consider the receiver's preferred style of communication when speaking with others. 

2. Non-verbal communication:

Since communication is a continual process, it can occur without the use of words. Gestures, facial expressions, posture, etc. are part of non-verbal communication. Hence, there must be an agreement between verbal and non-verbal communication, especially in stressful situations where it is difficult to understand non-verbal messages from patients. 

3. Active listening: 

Listening requires all the senses' attention and mobilisation to perceive verbal and non-verbal messages articulated by each patient. By actively listening to patients, you will be able to gain their trust and provide better care. One technique to practice active listening is to go over the major points you heard again. 

4. Written communication: 

Written communication comes in many forms in the healthcare system, such as nursing record keeping, written communication between supervisors and employees, and others. Thus, nursing staff should have good written communication skills so that they can convey messages properly. In recent years, electronic communication like e-mails, operational reports, etc. has largely replaced written communication in the UK. 

5. Presentation skills:

Effective presentation skills are especially useful when transferring patient care to another nurse or healthcare provider. These abilities will allow you to demonstrate your knowledge and competence in a variety of working contexts, including presenting at conferences, engaging in job interviews, providing physicians with case reports, and more. 

6. Patient education:

Nurses, in most cases, serve as a bridge between the healthcare team and patients. Hence, they should be effective instructors when explaining health conditions, disease procedures, medicines, etc. There is a need to explain complex medical and healthcare topics in simple terms so that patients and their families can follow along. Nurse practitioners are the ones who require such skills as they provide health and education counseling. 

These are some of the effective communication skills that nursing staff should possess. Communication skills in all forms are vital in the nursing sector, and to become a good nurse, such a skill is highly required. 

We at Nurses Group, UK, understand the importance of effective communication skills in nursing and provide our staff with various training sessions focusing on developing their skill sets. 

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