Many people assume that healthcare knowledge is the only essential skill for nurses, but in reality, it is essential for nurses to have a wide range of skills – and one skill many people forget about is communication.
Communication skills are an essential part of nursing; every day, nurses communicate serious information to patients and loved ones, and they also provide written communication that must be accurate, safe, and understandable.
Are you a nurse who wants to brush up on their communication skills? If so, here are seven essential communication skills for nurses.
Listening To Understand
A successful nurse doesn’t listen to respond; they listen to understand. They want to understand everything the other person is saying, and they make this clear by leaning forward, making eye contact, and nodding their head. This shows the other person that they are truly listening, so the other person is more likely to feel comfortable and open up (which can be very useful if a patient feels embarrassed or awkward).
Written communication is a key part of nurse-to-nurse communication, so you should make sure that any notes you write are clear and easy to understand. Only use abbreviations that are commonly used, and be as detailed as you need to be.
The Ability To Educate Patients
Nurses must be able to take what they learned during their studies, such as a masters degree in nursing, and communicate it to patients. Explaining medications, diseases, and medical techniques to patients who aren’t familiar with medical terms can be difficult – but if you are a good communicator, you will be able to do this using simplified terms and detailed explanations.
Nurses meet hundreds of people every week, including people from different countries and religions. For this reason, it is essential to be culturally mindful when you are talking; don’t use gestures that aren’t used by other cultures, and be careful not to say anything that could be insensitive.
Non-verbal communication is also a useful skill for nurses. It is possible to convey important messages without saying anything, and this can be very useful if you are breaking bad news. You can show compassion by bowing your head and controlling your voice, and you can also provide reassurance with eye contact. This can be very comforting for patients and their loved ones.
Nurses are occasionally asked to present their opinion or findings to other nurses and doctors, so presentation skills can be very useful. If you struggle with this, try to work on your self-confidence, and plan your presentation in advance.
Finally, a nurse should be a skilled verbal communicator. Think about your audience before you speak: are they a child? Are they elderly? Is English their first language? Use full sentences, don’t rush over your words, and always think about your tone before you start talking. This will comfort the person you are talking to, and it will also make it much easier for them to understand you.