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Nursing Communication Skills - Effective Communication | 12th Nursing : Chapter 10 : Communication Skills

Chapter: 12th Nursing : Chapter 10 : Communication Skills

Effective Communication

When the nurse communicates well, patient/other people will understand what the nurse is trying to convey and will accept it.


When the nurse communicates well, patient/other people will understand what the nurse is trying to convey and will accept it. Let’s begin with a clear understanding of what communication is, effective communication

            Achieves shared understanding

            Stimulates others to take actions to achieve goals/ideas.

            Directs the flow of information to help people overcome barriers to open up in discussion.

            Channels information to encourage people/ patient to think in new ways and to act more effectively.

Skills for Effective Communication

Express your feelings

Present yourself well

Give and receive compliments

Learn to say “no” when it’s necessary

To solve problems effectively

Effective communication is a key to getting along with others.


1. Methods of Effective Communication

The important strategies to enhance the communication are described in the following sections.

Attention Skills

The sender needs to pay attention to what he or she is trying to communicate, and choose the best words and body language to communicate with. The receiver needs to pay attention to what is being communicated by listening and watching. Attention is primarily governed by the type of attitude sender or receiver has towards each other during communication.

Rapport Building

Rapport building is important in both our professional and personal lives

·  Use nonthreatening and ‘safe topics’ for initial small talk.

·  Listen to what the other person is saying and look for shared experiences or circumstances this will give you more to talk about in the initial stages of communication.

·  Try to inject an element of humour.

·  Be conscious of your body language and other nonverbal signals you are sending.

·  Show some empathy.

Empathy Skills

Empathy skills are very important in good communication. Empathy is the ability to see the world as another person, and to share and understand another person’s feeling, need, concern, and/or emotional state.


2. Guidelines for Effective Communication

1. Clarity of purpose

·  In the first place we must make a careful analysis of what exactly we wish to communicate.

·  But any effort made in this direction proves to be fruitful.

·  As George Berneard shaw says, “The major mistake in communication is to believe that it happens.”

2. Shared activity

·  Let us forget that effective communication is the responsibility of all persons in the organisations.

·  They may be at any level managerial or non-managerial. They are all working towards a common goal.

3. Common set of Symbols

            The encoding and decoding of the message should be done with symbols that are familiar to the sender and the receiver.

            It is an immutable condition of communication that the code or set of symbols be mutually understood.

4. Focus the needs of the receiver

            Whenever we communicate we must keep in mind the needs of the receivers and the message / information.

            It should be our endeavour to see that whatever we communicate should be of value to the receiver, both in the short run and in the distant future.

            Our awareness of the needs of the receiver will make him more receptive.

5. Use Feedback

            Use Feedback, exhorts Stephen Robbins, a renowned authority on organisational behaviour. As the model of the communication process given in the preceding chapter shows, communication is complete only when the message is understood by the receiver.

            We can never know whether communication / message is understood unless the sender gets feedback.

            Many communication problems arise because of misunderstandings and inaccuracies.

6. Active Listening

Active or ‘participative’ listening is as important as any other element in the process of communication.

It shows, again, that communication is a joint responsibility of both the sender and the receiver.

7. Controlling Emotions

·            Emotions play an important role in interpersonal relationships between superiors, subordinates and colleagues in an organisation.

·            It should therefore, be an important aim of communication to create an environment in which people are motivated to work toward the desired goals of the enterprise while they achieve their personal goals.

8.. Politeness

·            This leads us to the tone of voice aspect of communication.

·            Everybody knows that politeness pays and it is reflected so very ‘loudly’ both in words and actions.

9. Eliminate noise

·            Every possible effort must be made to eliminate the element of noise that distorts communication at the transmission stage.

·            It becomes especially important in the wake of modern technological advancement.

·            Anything going wrong with the equipment or any disturbance in the transmission line is bound to defeat the very purpose of communication.

10. Clarify Assumptions

No effective communication can be based on assumptions.

The sender of the message must first clarify his assumptions and then go ahead with proper encoding of the message.

11. Avoiding Connotations and Ambiguities

·  Semantic problems can be solved by using simple language and avoiding connotations.

·  Care must be taken to see that the receiver of the message does not have to go beyond the text of the message.

·  A sender should, therefore use denotative words and expressions in preference to connotative ones.

·  It is also necessary to avoid all ambiguity that means using words with double meaning.

12. Socio-psychological aspect

As communication is a two-way process involving both the sender and the receiver, both should make conscious efforts to understand each other’s cultural and socio-psychological background.

·  As a golden rule for effective communication one must remember, “First understand, then be understood.”

·  An effective communication is an informed communicator.

13. Completeness

·  One must also endeavour to send a complete message, furnishing all necessary facts and figures.

·  Incomplete communication annoys the receiver, as a result they do not get proper feedback.

·  The message should be so organised that the receiver is not left in doubt about any aspect of the message.

14. Conciseness

·  Completeness does not mean inclusion of unnecessary details or diversions.

An effective communication is concise and crisp.

·  The sender should be clear headed and properly focused in her/his vision.

15. Proper use of body language

·  Proper use of body language is of paramount important, especially in oral communication.

·  No oral communication can be successful or effective if we do not take care of our body language.

·  In the first place there must be good eye contact with the person to whom we are communicating.

·  The movement or our hands and feet must be graceful.

·  Every listener observes carefully how we walk and how we talk.

·  Our gait says a lot about us.

·  A warm handshake can do wonders.

·  Holding our head straight on our shoulders shows confidence.


3. Some tips for Effective Communication

·  Learn to express yourself

Help others to get to know you better, so they will know what to expect from you. They will also help you to get knowledge because they will give information about themselves.

·  Learn good listening skills

Careful listening avoids misunderstanding. Give your undivided attention to the patient/ speaker. If you need more information ask questions. Be informative by trying to say something positive even if you don’t like it.

·  Learn to be assertive

Express what you have to say with frankness without being aggressive. To be assertive means not to say ‘Yes’ when you want to say ‘No’.


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