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Communication is essential for nurses as a key member of the health care team. Effective communication is essential with the clients/patients (our external customers) and the other members of the health care team (our internal customers).
We communicate continuously in our roles. We use verbal, nonverbal, written, and electronic methods of communication. We must develop effective and appropriate communication methods and utilize communication to best serve our clients/patients.
There are certain measures you can take to communicate effectively. These measures require that you take a few moments and focus on the message you are trying to put forward.
Think before you communicate
Effective written communication requires that the message is clear and in language the reader will be able to understand.
Use words, phrases the reader can understand.
We all use nonverbal communication as we verbally communicate. This nonverbal communication can send messages that are congruent or noncongruent with our verbal communication. The key components of nonverbal communication are: body posture and postioning, physical gestures, facial expressions, clothing and physical appearance, distance and personal space, physical environment, and time. Be sure to be cognizant of the nonverbal communication that you are sending when you are communicating.
Many forms of electronic communication are employed in today’s health care arena. There are key dimensions that apply to this communication as well.
When communicating be sure to provide privacy as indicated for the situation. Always provide confidentiality when communicating with or about patients.
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Reference: Karen Leland and Keith Bailey, "Ten Major Don’ts (and Do’s) of Customer Service", Customer Service for Dummies