Communication in Nursing
Communication in the nursing practice is considered the most important element in providing effective nursing care to patients. This is so because; good communication ensures coordination among nurses and co-workers, as well as other healthcare professionals involved in the patient’s treatment and care. However, it is worth noting that, communication among nurses in the hospital setting encompasses several challenges. This aspect is reaffirmed by most leaders in the nursing profession. For instance, Anderson (2013) remarks “Communication in [the] nursing profession can be a complicated process, and the possibility of sending or receiving incorrect messages frequently exists (par. 2). Therefore, this clinical journal will provide an overview on communication in my workplace; Med/Surge and Detox/Psychiatric unit in a hospital located at NYC where I have been working for nine years.
At my workplace, communication exhibits diverse features depending on the nature of the information to be conveyed, although the goal of communication is always the same. Mind Tools (2014) states “The purpose of communication is to get your message across to others clearly and unambiguously” (par. 1). In addition, Casey & Wallis (2011) reports “One of the most basic goals for nursing staff is that their patients and clients and those who care for them experience effective communication” (p. 35). In the communication process, nurses receive information from patients, nurse staff or any other relevant professional in a hospital setting, and provide an appropriate response to the information. Concerning patients’ information, the communication process involves receiving information, documenting and reporting the information for purposes of nursing care. In practice, documentation plays a significant role in improving communication and supporting patients’ care. Casey & Wallis (2011) states “The primary purpose of these records is to support patient care and improve communication, therefore, Nurses are required to maintain up-to-date and accurate records of assessments, risks and problems, care, arrangements for ongoing care and any information provided” (p. 36). In the documentation, electronic records are used, as well as written notes during shifts to ensure a transient structure of recording-keeping in the psychiatric unit. In reporting, structured reporting format is applied, especially nursing handovers, in which patients are involved to improve communication.
In regard to communication methods, different communication methods are used during nursing care including formal and informal communication methods. However, it is worth noting that the nature of information to be communicated determines the appropriate method of communication to be used. Despite the differences observed in different communication methods, it is worth noting that “the objective of communication remains the same: educate, inform and counsel patients in order to ensure patient safety and improve clinical outcomes” (Cipoletti, n.d., par. 3). In this hospital, formal communication methods include patients’ reports, medical guidelines, publications, regulatory policies and statutes. Formal record systems are used for prescriptions and other relevant communication in which hospital policies are explained to patients by nurses and other physicians. On the other hand, information among nurses is disseminated and shared through continuing medical education forums that are held time to time for up-date and nursing care evaluation purposes.
Informal communication methods are also used at my workplace. In most cases, nurses exchange information through verbal communication such as discussion sessions to deliberate on various issues related to patient’s care and therapeutic treatment. In addition, nurses exchange information through electronic means such as emails and social media. Mobile SMS texting is also used in communication between nurses for effective communication. This appears to be the most reliable method of communication among nurses who have busy schedules. On the other hand, informal communication methods provide an opportunity for nurses to offer support for patients, as well as families. However, it is worth noting that, informal communication is not used at some circumstances owing to its high possibility of misinformation.
As a nurse manager, I can apply different lines of communication depending on the nature of information to be communicated. For instance, receiving and delivering information to patients require formal means of communication in which written notes are prepared. This can be done through conducting interviews as the most reliable line of communication between patients and nurses. Therefore, recommending interviews and documentation of information through written notes can ensure improved communication and coordination among nurses. As such, as a nurse leader, I would adopt electronic-based communication lines to convey information to nurses. For instance, sending emails can be a reliable line of communication because it is convenient and fast to deliver information.