Essential Nurse Communication Skills

Essential Nurse Communication Skills

Nursing students have to dedicate themselves to learning the technical aspects of their field of study. This can remove focus from developing soft skills like communication. Communication skills are complex areas of study in their own right and are necessary for career progression. A nursing student would need to learn the many different forms of communication and understand the nuances of putting each into use in the appropriate social context.

There are 10 essential nurse communication skills. While each stands out as a technique in communication, it is common to adopt a multi-faceted approach to communicating. These essential techniques are listed below:

1. Verbal Communication

Verbal communication is the use of spoken words to share information. It is a common form of communication that can be applied in both personal and professional context. Nurses use it to inform patients of their conditions and exchange information on medical procedures with doctors. It would be normal for a nurse to be based in a non-English speaking environment, requiring him or her to learn the local language.

It is important to make a good first impression to engage in order to engage in verbal communication successfully. A nurse should show the appropriate demeanour and adopt the expected form of language. Techniques like reinforcement, questioning and confidence are key in improving verbal communication skills.

2. Non-verbal Communication

Non-verbal communication is arguably the most common form of communication. It involves use of body language to share and receive information. The bodily expressions used in this format of communication are both conscious and subconscious. A wrong interpretation of a message can occur if there is inconsistency between subconscious non-verbal communication and other deliberate forms of communication.

One way to improve your non-verbal communication skills is to develop a high degree of self-awareness. This will help you in getting into a composed frame of mind that will enable you to communicate the right message. A day in the life of a nurse will usually entail many instances of eye contact, touch, varying voice tone and gestures by hand and feet.

3. Written Communication

Written communication is the use of written words to convey a message. It is the standard for formal communication because of its permanency. It is more convenient to depend on written communication to make future reference than it is with most other forms of communication. A nurse is required to make written communication in different formats like memos and reports.

How do you improve your written communication skills? The most reliable technique for a nurse to improve on this would be practice. This would make the different forms of written communication familiar to you. It is also necessary to adhere to principles like conciseness, clarity, simplicity and use of an active voice when opting for written communication.

4. Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence describes the ability to appropriately respond emotionally in different social contexts. For a nurse, this will show more often as a show of compassion. It is highly unlikely for an individual to chart a successful career in nursing if they are unable to show empathy to patients. A service-mindset is the key to developing your emotional intelligence skills.

5. Interpersonal Skills

Interpersonal skills come to the fore everytime a nurse interacts with another individual. It is what people use to navigate the social dynamics that is their lives. A nurse would use it to develop better relations with patients and work colleagues. Some of the best ways to develop interpersonal skills are to show preference for face-to-face communication and to approach communication with a neutral mindset. This makes it easier to connect with the other person.

6. Inspire Trust

A nurse needs to be reliable in the eyes of work colleagues and patients considering the critical nature of their jobs. Top nurses usually achieve this status by being honest and personal when communicating. These techniques make it easier for such nurses to be trusted. And trust could have a placebo effect on patients. This communication skill is further refined by practices like keeping promises and being supportive of others.

7. Active Listening

Active listening is a difficult skill to master. This is why it is emphasized in communication skills training. One has to be fully concentrated on the verbal message being communicated. A nurse would put this skill to use when taking details from a patient or instructions from a doctor. Avoiding distractions stands out as an obvious way to become better at active listening. It is also helpful to ditch vices like biases and stereotyping.


8. Cultural Sensitivity

Learning institutions and workplaces, including hospitals, continue to become increasingly multicultural globally. This means that an acceptance of cultural diversity is expected from medical practitioners like nurses. It would be difficult to administer treatment to patients if tolerance for cultural differences was absent. Those struggling to maintain this mindset need to be open to learning and borrow from empathy communication skills as they will continue to come across an assortment of patients from varying cultural backgrounds.

9. Presentation Skills

The ability to make good presentations should be a skill honed by every nurse from their school days. Presentations are an effective way to summarize complex information. It combines verbal, non-verbal and written communication, which further improves an individual’s communication skills. Practice is the best way to develop presentation skills as it prepares one for different types of audience and point of message.

10. Teaching

A nurse is ultimately a teacher as well. He or she spends a great deal of her workday directing patients and colleagues on what to do. This aspect of communicating requires use of all communicating techniques that have been mentioned above. It is also critical to incorporate attributes like patience and confidence for effective conveyance of a message.