To be a successful nurse, excellent communication skills are required. Nurses act as the hub of communication, relaying and interpreting information between physicians, caregivers, family members and patients.
The ability to establish effective communication in nursing is imperative to providing the best care and patient outcomes possible. The ability to communicate and connect with patients and health care professionals can help build relationships, prevent mistakes and provide a higher level of care.
The most successful nurses are well aware of the growing impact that effective communication has on patients, fellow nurses, and their other coworkers. Increases in nursing communication can lessen medical errors and make a difference in positive patient outcomes. Communication can mean the difference between life and death.
According to a 2013 study published in the Journal of Patient Safety, as many as 440,000 people die each year from preventable medical errors, representing the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Of deaths due to medical errors, The Joint Commission estimates that 80 percent involve miscommunication. Communication was one of the top three leading causes of sentinel events, a patient safety event unrelated to the patient’s illness or condition that results in death, permanent harm or another negative outcome.
Benefits for Patients
Nurses have a multitude of responsibilities when it comes to patient care. Arguably, communication tops the list. Having good communication with patients helps them in three main ways:
1. Good communication helps patients feel at ease.
It’s common for people who need health care services to feel anxious about their health, about what tests and treatment they might have to undergo and about what the future holds for them. Having good communication with health care workers will reduce their anxiety and build their confidence.
2. Good communication helps patients to feel in control.
It’s easy for people to feel that they give up all control of their lives once they enter the health system. Losing control can make people feel helpless and hopeless, which isn’t good for boosting their chances of recovery from illness. Good communication can help people to see that they still have a say and are still in charge of their own lives.
3. Good communication makes patients feel valued.
The most precious thing we can give to another person is our time. When we show we’re prepared to lay aside all the other things we need to do to spend time with someone, to listen to them, get to know them and understand how they are feeling, we’re showing that we really value that person. Being able to communicate well helps us achieve this with patients.
Developing communication skills starts in the classroom, where students can study techniques in more depth. Coursework covering professional interpersonal communication, including both verbal and written, is ideal for nursing students.
Athena Career Academy offers nursing quality training, including how to successfully communicate with patients, doctors, medical staff, and each other. Contact us today to discuss how to get on your way to a rewarding career in nursing.