How to communicate as a nurse

“I can talk, therefore I communicate.”

Wrong! How is the communication in your facility? Do you have a great deal of talking but very little communication? How are we communicating to our residents, families and co-workers? Are we showing compassion through our communication? Let’s take a look at a few ways to make our communication more effective.

Listen with your full attention. Stop what you are doing, make eye contact and don’t judge what is being said. Think about what you will say next; don’t jump in right away with advice or solutions. When you listen patiently, attentively and without interruption to everything the other person is saying, you’ll be amazed at how much better the other person will feel. Being a good listener is the single most important thing you can do to improve communication.

Speak positive words to others. Fantastic things happen—to the way we feel, to the way we make other people feel, simply by using positive words. Speaking positively to our residents and their families is vital to our success and also to the happiness of our residents.

Show continuous expressions of appreciation. The simplest way to make another person feel good about himself or herself is by showing appreciation for what that person does, large or small. Say “thank you” on every occasion. The more you thank other people for doing things for you, the more they will want to do for you in the future. Every time you thank another person, you cause that person to like themselves better; you raise their self-esteem and improve their self-image. They feel more important, valued and worthwhile. And by thanking someone, it makes you feel happier, more content and more positive about what you are doing as well.

Watch your body language. The way you appear to others is more important than the words you say or the tone you use. SMILE at your residents, smile at their families, smile at your co-workers. Now some of you will say, “But Frieda, I would have to pretend to be happy.” Well I am telling you that pretending is in! I would much rather you pretend to be happy and love your job than for you to be negative and try to ruin my day—or worse, your residents’ day. Author Frieda Stewart, RN, is the Director of Nursing at Corn Heritage Village in Corn, Oklahoma; the owner and CEO of VitalAttitudes, LLC; and a public speaker who travels all across the United States.

Topics: Staffing