Nurses are at the front lines of delivering the best possible care to patients. As such, they must display positive communication to collaborate, research and educate in the daily course of their duties. Nurse leaders should pave the way thanks to examples of how to communicate with staffers and patients around them.
Power of Positivity
Nurse leaders can choose positive communication over negative every moment of every day, even when giving detailed, technical reports. How nurses use their words determines the attitude of those around them. Assertive communicators use words to inspire rather than to instill anxiety. Assertive communication and thinking lead to better engagement with staff thanks to an openness that embraces innovative ideas rather than dismissing them.
Precise communication also comes into play here. Nurses need to know the priority of what needs to be done. Details are important so patients receive the right medication, the proper paperwork and the correct care at the right time. A lack of positive communication from leaders can prevent these basic tenets of health care, which is why the right attitude is so important.
Practicalities of Positive Communication
Managers, directors and executives in nursing have a few practical ideas to create an atmosphere of positive communication. Practice involves using these techniques on a regular and consistent basis.
Empathy includes taking into account the feelings of others in words and actions. As an example, a new company policy changes the way nursing shifts run and everyday nurses are resistant to the change. Now is the time for supervisors to voice concerns to try to alleviate any sudden upsets because of scheduling. Communicating the fact that higher-ups are looking into the concerns helps alleviate some stress due to changes.
Nonverbal cues are critical to communication. Leaders can practice open and nonthreatening body language. Body language also helps supervisors respond to other communication.
Listening is an effective tool for communication. Positive managers listen to any and all sides of an issue before taking firm action. Listening also helps dissipate any arguments.
Directors can aim for praise over criticism when they speak. If criticism is needed, it should be tempered with positive aspects.
Using absolutes may not be the best idea since there are exceptions to most situations. Instead of saying "always," a manager can replace it with "frequently." The same is true for replacing "never" with "rarely."
Clear and concise communication remains one key to making a point. Leaders learn to walk a fine line between bluntness and succinctness. People can still communicate with fewer words without sounding mean.
Resources for Learning
All these methods of communicating take regular practice to master. There are plenty of books on the subject, and local community colleges offer regular courses on interpersonal communication. Leaders can attend workshops, online classes and training to improve this vital aspect of their nursing careers.
Positive communication leads to better satisfaction among the nursing staff. This, in turn, affects patient outcomes. Therefore, it behooves every health care system to implement more dynamic communication strategies to help everyone who relies on the best possible patient care.
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