10 Communication Skills for Nurses to Master
For a nurse, the ability to communicate is a very important skill and a vital part of the job. Nurses speak to people of varying educational, cultural and social backgrounds and must do so in an effective, caring and professional manner, especially when communicating with patients and their family.
If you are looking to improve your communication skills, here are ten tips that may help:
Certain words sound very similar to one another if they are spoken very quickly. Take the time to speak slowly and carefully, and your words may be less likely to be mistaken by others.
2 – Speak Clearly, Not Loudly
With some people, especially those who are older, the inclination might be to raise your voice dramatically in an effort to make them understand you. Shouting only tends to make it harder to comprehend what you are saying. Instead of speaking louder, try speaking more clearly, especially when communicating with older patients.
3 – Avoid Using Slang
A common mistake that many people make is to try to use bigger and more complicated words. Another common mistake is to try to use slang terms that are not fitting or appropriate. Avoid both of these mistakes for better communication.
4 – Remember Your Audience
What you might say to a doctor or a fellow nurse might be very different from what you would say to a patient or a patient’s family. For example, use the word ‘medicine’ rather than ‘drug’ when talking to patients. Many people associate the word ‘drug’ with illicit substances, whereas health professionals view the word ‘drug’ as any pharmaceutical preparation. Choose your words to fit the situation and the audience.
5 – Stop and Listen
One of the most important skills you can have for effective communication is being able to actually stop and listen to what is being said by the other person. Listening is a very powerful communication tool.
6 – Reflect
To make sure that the communication is flowing, learn the simple trick of reflecting on what the person is saying to you. To do so, you simply repeat what has been said in your own words, back to the person. If you are wrong, the person can say so before you walk away.
7 – Use Body Language
In addition to the words that you say, you communicate with those around you with your face, your hands your posture etc. Make sure that what you are saying and what your body is saying are in agreement, and you are not sending conflicting messages.
8 – Know Your Communication Roadblock
If you have ever stumbled on a word or you have ever found yourself so frustrated that you could not communicate at all, then you know the roadblocks. Everyone has a few of them, knowing yours can help you to find ways around those issues. For instance, if you know that a person crying will effectively make your communication skills disintegrate then learn ways to manage such situations better.
9 – Consider Learning a Foreign Language
It might sound strange but learning a new language puts you in better touch with your native tongue and can open your eyes to the way you use the words you already know.
10 – Don’t Forget Other Methods of Communication
In addition to speaking and listening, don’t forget that there are other skills that you should work on such as reading and writing.