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The aim of this assessment is for you to demonstrate your knowledge of Professional Communication in Nursing. You will do this by submitted essay discussing why Professional Communication in Nursing is important. You will gather evidence for this from the three (3) extracts that you practiced your paraphrasing skills on in assessment 2 and one (1) journal article and one (1) website. Both the journal article and the website should be related to nursing. There are lots more details about this assessment in your Learning Guide and you can ask your tutor about it in class.
The PCALS staff will be holding workshops to help you with your academic writing skills and students who pass this Assessment in previous years have generally attended these workshops.
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Communication is a fundamental part of a nurses’ daily work. Through verbal and non-verbal means, they communicate with several different people including patients, co-workers, their subordinates and seniors as well as patients’ families and friends. Ineffective and poor communication among nurses can result into very bad situations and can also put the lives of patients at risk. Therefore, the ability to communicate professionally and effectively is an essential attribute in nursing and usually indicates nursing best practice (RNAO, 2002).
Professional communication is critical when dealing with patients as it optimizes health outcomes. Through professional communication, nurses are able to deliver quality care and services that meet patients’ needs in a holistic manner but not as dictated the patient’s condition or disease (RNAO, 2002; Taylor et al, 2014). Being in hospital usually stresses patients and their families. This makes them impatient and irritable especially when they feel that they are being mistreated, neglected or not respected. Through effective communication, nurses are able to help the patients and their families overcome their stress by enabling them accept and adjust to their condition, improving their relationships with other people and enabling them overcome other psychological challenges such as stigma. With a person centered approach and professional communication, nurses are able to show respect for personhood and establish a caring relationship. The nurses are also able to build therapeutic relationships with the patients. Through these, they are therefore able to get information from patients easily which results into quicker diagnoses. This enables more effective treatments to be planned and helps prevent fatal mistakes. Also, through therapeutic communication, nurses give periodic updates to patients about their health conditions. This eases any anxiety and eliminates any communication gaps that may exist between the hospital and the patients (CNO, 2013b; Taylor et al, 2014). Nurses are also able to ensure that verbal and non-verbal gestures such as being polite and patient, timing, rate of speech, language use, use of medical terminology, intonation, listening, facial expressions, and body language among others make patients feel comfortable (Dempsey et al., 2014, p. 119). All these discussed issues aid wellbeing and patient recovery in hospitals, increase patient satisfaction, and result in greater adherence to treatment options as reported by CNO (2013b).
Secondly, it improves the quality and safety of healthcare services and helps optimize a patient’s involvement. Nurses’ actions and behaviors are an integral part in delivering person- and family-centred care. Communication strategies such as smiling, displaying emotions and direct eye contact are usually used by nurses to help a patient feel safe and express their feelings. This further helps in developing the therapeutic relationship with the patient. For instance, parents with children appreciate kind, sensitive, compassionate and warm nurses (Foster et al., 2013; Taylor et al, 2014). When dealing with a patient, a nurse must act professionally while taking into account a patient’s beliefs, values, culture, language, preferences for care, and life circumstances in order to be able to know and understand the whole person. This makes the patient feel safe to open up on their health needs and actively participate in making decisions about their health and care. In the end, the patient will actively participate in decision making and planning their health care alongside the nurses and other healthcare providers. Nurses who spend enough time with patients also make them feel safe, knowing that their fears and concerns will be addressed without rash through (RNAO, 2006b; Foster et al., 2010). Through professional communication, nurses are able to collaborate with various patients in order to identify their health care priorities and goals. Nurses are able to discuss evidence-based practices and information with them. This enables the patients to make informed decisions on their preferred health care options which the nurses have to respect. Furthermore through a person- and family-centred care approach, professional communication from a nurse gives a patient’s family assurance that their loved ones are in safe hands and that they are receiving the right treatment and care (RNAO, 2002, 2006a; Duggan et al., 2006; Foster et al., 2010).
As an important way of communication in the nursing career, documentation of information informs other health-care team members about the needs of a patient, how they can help continue care and safety needed during health care (RNAO, 2002). Proper documentation by nurses also helps create databases that satisfies the legal requirement and meets the needs of the patients and health care institution. These enable easy identification of health problems, formulation of diagnoses and adequate planning of interventions. Through this, patients’ information can also be easily exchanged among various departments (Weber & Kelley, 2013).
Professional communication is also important when dealing with co-workers. It enhances relationships and mutual respect among nurses, co-workers, and their subordinates and superiors. Effective professional communication among staff members is necessary for proper functioning of any health care institution. Nurses are majorly the backbone of any hospitals and therefore their communication channel should be smooth and standardized. Lack of or poor communication can result into fatal mistakes. For instance, if a nurse fails to properly communicate a patient’s schedules or medicines, it becomes a case of negligent patient care which might have serious consequences. Proper professional communication also helps avoid severe consequences that may arise when nurses are handing over duty (RNAO, 2002, 2006a).
Effective communication also helps nurses understand both verbal and non-verbal languages and people from culturally and linguistically different backgrounds. This helps avoid communication breakdowns and discrimination based on culture and language barriers and variations. This also helps fill cultural gaps and allows for collaboration among diverse cultures that results into technological and funding resource boosts in health care (RNAO, 2007; Dempsey et al., 2014).
In nursing faculties, nurses’ daily interactions with other health care providers and students provide a practical demonstration of professional communication skills which are required of modern professional nurses. As the nurses engage the students in professional communication, they enable students to practice and ultimately be competent (RNAO, 2002).
Through professional communication, nurses are able to evaluate themselves and their patient’s satisfaction. Patients are also able to evaluate the health care providers and the health care institution basing their satisfaction and finally provide feedback. This helps in monitoring results for the outcomes of person- and family-centred care. It also helps determine the measures to be put in place in order to improve health care delivery (RNAO, 2002).
In conclusion, professional communications in nursing is very important. It improves the quality of healthcare provided, relationships and well-being, and, positively influences patients’ preferences and outcomes. Professional communication is key in determining the competence and work delivery of a nurse.
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