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Professional Communication Skills For Nurses

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Discuss about the Professional Communication Skills for Nurses.


Communication is an important part of nursing practice to promote safety, health and well-being of patients. As nurses, have complex role and have to deal with diverse patient group, professional communication knowledge is imperative for them to facilitate better collaboration with staffs and patients, yield better patient outcome, reduce error, improve patient satisfaction and promote efficiency care. Apart from the communication skill of nurses and clinician in practice, professional communication is also dependent on use of effective health information technology and care delivery model in hospital (Arnold & Boggs, 2015). The aim of this essay is to discuss the importance of professional communication in ensuring safety of patients and ways to develop the professional communication skills of staff in care.

Patient-centered care is a necessary element of professional communication process in health care. With the change in system of health care delivery, patient-centered care promotes patient-safe communication in clinical setting. Patient-centered care is delivered on the values and principle of autonomy, dignity, respect, transparency and empathy. Patients come in clinical setting with their own understanding and knowledge about disease and illness and patient-centered care approach helps staff to engage in mutually beneficial partnership with patients. Nurses and clinician working on the basis of this approach appreciate the values and life history of patients that shapes their health relate knowledge. By this means, patient is actively involved in treatment and health care decision-making process. It enhances emotional and physical comfort of patients and ensure better coordination and continuity of care. Patient-safe health care practice and communication is possible by patient-centered approach as it is entirely dependent on consideration of patient’s preference and values while delivering care (Levett-Jones et al., 2014).

Patient-safe communication enables health professional to share information with patients, clarify regarding treatment and verify information to establish a collaborative relation with patients. Nowadays clinicians and nurses are highly encouraged to interact with patients to understand their concern and do everything possible to make patient comfortable during the delivery of care. This approach of professional communication has an impact on patient outcomes in many ways. Effective communication has been identified in increasing compliance with medication, reducing stress and anxiety in patients, pain management and improving functional and psychological status of patients (Okuyama, Wagner, & Bijnen, 2014). A randomized controlled trial study evaluated the impact of communication skills intervention for nurses in the quality of communication with critically ill patients. In this study, the quality of care was assessed by measures of depression and functional status of patients. Nurses reported positive professional development in them such as acquisition of new skills to deliver bad news to patients and professionally responding to emotional distress in patients. This form of skills prepares nurses and clinicians to mitigate negative effects of illness and promote recovery of patients (Curtis et al., 2013).


Efficiency of nurses and staff in patient documentation process is also an important aspect of professional and patient-safe communication. Written or electronically generated health record stores data on interaction with patients on levels such as assessment, diagnosis, treatment planning and evaluation of care. The presence of accurate and sophisticated management information system and provisions of accurate training to staffs in using these systems makes the care delivery process accurate, secure and confidential. Nurses are expected to review and revise the system so that high quality care is provided and there is minimum chance of medical error or risk to patient (Hill, Hall, & Glew, 2017). The wide application of electronic health record in clinical setting has enhanced patient safety and improved the process of evaluating quality of care. It also promotes efficiency in workflow. Although there are numerous benefits of electronic health records, however nurses faced challenges in using it due its complex design and cumbersome electronic processes. With this problem, there is a need to adapt those tools that are specific to the work area of nurses. Furthermore, necessary training and skill development program is necessary before the implementation of electronic health record to achieve the purpose of safety and efficiency in the care process (Lavin, Harper, & Barr, 2015).

The national competency standards for the registered nurse as laid down by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) on professional practice by means of fulfilling legal, ethical and professional responsibilities in nursing practice. According the standard 2.1of nursing practice, nurses need to practice in accordance with professional code of ethics and conduct (National competency standards for the registered nurse, 2017). This is necessary in the communication process too so that sensitive needs of patients is met during the treatment or care process. Nurses can also engage in professional communication by having knowledge about profession conduct needed for nursing practice. The code of Professional Conduct for Nurses in Australia mentions that nurses are responsible for safe and competent nursing care and they need to ensure that care delegation does not compromise the quality of care. Following the standard of nursing practice is also important to enhance safety. During the communication process, safety can be maintained by means of respecting the dignity, culture and belief of people in receiving the treatment. This means refraining from discriminatory attitudes and protects the interest of patients in care (Code of Professional Conduct for Nurses in Australia, 2017).

The essay summarized the importance of professional communication in patient safety and promoting positive health outcome for patients. Along with effective communication skill, patients centered care, use of appropriate documentation tool, knowledge of professional standards of nursing practices promotes the delivery of safe and quality care. Patient-centeredness is an important attribute of professional communication, which ensure care is delivered according to the preference and cultural values of patients. Proficiency of nurses in patient-centered communication prevents resentment among patients and eliminate any barrier experienced by staff in delivery of care. In order to maintain the dignity and better health of patient, it is necessary that organization takes necessary action to train newly placed nurse regarding appropriate professional communication and provide necessary tool to maximize safety and accuracy in the delivery of care.



Arnold, E. C., & Boggs, K. U. (2015). Interpersonal relationships: Professional communication skills for nurses. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Code of Professional Conduct for Nurses in Australia. (2017). Retrieved 13 April 2017, from https://file:///C:/Users/admin/Downloads/6_New-Code-of-Professional-Conduct-for-Nurses-August-2008-1-%20(2).PDF

Curtis, J. R., Back, A. L., Ford, D. W., Downey, L., Shannon, S. E., Doorenbos, A. Z., ... & Arnold, R. W. (2013). Effect of communication skills training for residents and nurse practitioners on quality of communication with patients with serious illness: a randomized trial. Jama, 310(21), 2271-2281.

Hill, R., Hall, H., & Glew, P. J. (2017). Fundamentals of Nursing and Midwifery: A Person-Centred Approach to Care.

Lavin, M., Harper, E., & Barr, N. (2015). Health information technology, patient safety, and professional nursing care documentation in acute care settings. OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 20(2).

Levett-Jones, T., Gilligan, C., Outram, S., & Horton, G. (2014). Key attributes of patient-safe communication| NOVA. The University of Newcastle's Digital Repository.

National competency standards for the registered nurse. (2017). Retrieved 13 April 2017, from https://file:///C:/Users/admin/Downloads/Nursing-and-Midwifery-Board---Standard---National-competency-standards-for-the-registered-nurse%20(14).PDF

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