Effective communication is essential in the healthcare industry. It makes it easier for medical providers and patients to connect, ultimately leading to positive healthcare outcomes.
Nurses have an extremely patient-centered role within the healthcare sector. This means when a patient is getting treated, out of all the healthcare staff, they will interact with you the most.
Hence you need to know the art of communication and ensure in the limited time you have with your patients; you can extract enough details from them. So how do you connect with your patients? Here’s what you need to know:
Table of Contents
1. Prepare Yourself for Your Job
Part of being a nurse includes a lifetime commitment to learning.
This is because, as a nurse, you must stay on top of your field, know what advancements are entering the sector, and constantly improve your skills to keep up with them.
The best way to do this is by pursuing an advanced degree. These degrees follow rigorous coursework and have a structured approach to patient care that can make you a better nurse.
By allowing yourself to learn, you expose yourself to critical interpersonal skills such as confidence and empathy and improve at communicating.
This can help you bond with your patients, ultimately gaining their trust.
While there are numerous degrees you can enroll in, try your hand at the 12 month FNP program online, which gives you a boost into the world of nurse practitioners, making you a nursing specialist and a more considerable asset to your patients.
2. Understand How to Communicate With Your Patients
Before you start talking to your patients, you must figure out how to communicate with them.
When you enter an examination room after brief introductions, figure out how your patient is comfortable expressing themselves.
Are they fluent in their native tongue, or can they converse with you in the spoken language? If the patient is older, pay attention if they’re wearing any assistive devices like hearing aids so you know if you need to adjust your volume.
Likewise, if your patient prefers using sign language, try to get another fluent nurse to help you speak to them.
The idea is to find out what method your patients prefer communicating in and mimic that style you carry on a conversation.
3. Get Better At Verbal Communication
Verbal communication is a skill. When you’re talking to your patients, take your time in speaking.
You want to ensure they hear you. It would help if you took pauses in between to allow your patients to pick up what you’re saying and give them ample space to ask questions if they’re confused.
Try not to be too loud since it can agitate your patients; instead, go for a mild tone that is not too loud but enough for them to hear you.
Furthermore, when a patient is talking, try not to interrupt them but encourage them to share as much as possible.
If a patient has a hard name to pronounce, try learning how to say it right on the spot, or ask your patient for an alternative name that can make it easy for you to engage with them.
Avoid using medical jargon and keep the conversation simple. While you can engage in small talk, try not to avoid the discussion’s main subject.
4. Pay Attention to Body Language
Your body language makes a massive difference to your patients. If you look intimidating, they may want to avoid talking to you.
Likewise, a patient may feel dismissed if you look uninterested and disengaged. So it would help if you balanced between ensuring you’re paying attention but you’re not scaring off your patients.
If your patient is seated, you should try sitting too. Always smile but nod when your patient speaks, giving the impression you’re listening. If your patient is a child, lower yourself to their eye level and talk to them.
If you tower over a child, that can cause them to get frightened, and they may shy away from you.
5. Improve Your Written Communication
You’re also expected to write and document interacting with patients besides talking and listening. While talking to your patients, try to take notes right then.
This keeps the details fresh and ensures you don’t forget any crucial detail that influences the trajectory of their diagnosis.
It would help if you cross-question your patients after you take notes; this will help you eliminate any mistakes and give you verbal confirmation that you have written to the T.
If you’re writing to explain how your patient should consume their medication, make sure you’re clear, legible and detailed enough for them to understand.
Although most nurses take notes digitally, you should keep your notepad on you since it can help you accurately pen down your patient’s symptoms.
6. Showcase Empathy
Talking to your patients doesn’t have to be a mechanical process. You can show emotion and empathy, especially when your patient looks unwell.
Understand that these are people with real problems and ailments, which means, at times, their disease may be too much for them to bear, and they may need your kindness.
However, don’t sound condescending, rude, or pitiful. Your patient may find your tone offensive; instead, be polite and kind and show that you understand they’re hurting.
You may share a few words of encouragement with them to give them hope and reassurance. Patients with optimistic and caring nurses show more progress than those with no bond with their medical caregivers.
As a nurse, you have an essential job within the healthcare sector: to ensure that patients can get the help they need by effectively communicating with them.
Talking to your patients is a skill. It’s a mixture of making small talk with them and ensuring you stay on topic. Communication also includes how you present yourself.
Your body language can influence the direction of your conversation. Additionally, ensure you’re precise and accurately capturing everything your patient says when you’re making notes.
Once you master these skills, you should have no trouble talking to your patients and engaging with them fruitfully.