Nurses’ skills in communication help them to demonstrate teamwork and participate in interprofessional collaboration. Both oral and written communications are important in nursing and healthcare. “Communication and collaboration among healthcare professionals are critical to delivering high-quality and safe patient care” (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2008, p. 3).
Nurses all study communication skills in their prelicensure nursing programs. Key communication strategies for professional nurses include
- clear, concise, accurate wording,
- respect for others;
- adaptation for cultural diversity;
- development of trust and rapport; and
- choosing the right time and place.
“The Nurse of the Future will interact effectively with patients, families, and colleagues, fostering mutual respect and shared decision making, to enhance patient satisfaction and health outcomes” (Massachusetts Department of Higher Education Nursing Initiative, 2016, p. 32).
We communicate orally multiple times each day. We communicate with patients, families, other nurses, managers, unlicensed assistive personnel, and a variety of other healthcare professionals (physicians, dietitians, respiratory therapists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, social workers, pharmacists, and many more). “The choice of words that a person uses is based on language, educational background, age, race, and socioeconomic background, as well as on the situation in which the communication takes place” (Kearney-Nunnery, 2016, p. 102).
- How might interpretation of words vary based on the recipient’s background, experience, and culture?
- How would the sender accommodate for these factors?
SBAR is a written tool often used to organize thoughts for an oral communication session. SBAR typically stands for Situation, Background, Assessment, and Recommendation (Hood, 2018). This can be used by nurses prior to phoning physicians or other professionals regarding a change in patient status.
- How do you use SBAR in your practice?
- How does your facility modify SBAR to expand its usefulness?
- What other mnemonics do you use that are helpful in oral communication and patient hand-off?
Oral Professional Communication
- When communicating with patients and families, what aspects are important in planning your communication?
Nurses also communicate in writing both on paper and electronically during their professional activities. Nurses in clinical practice may use electronic medication administrations systems and electronic health records. We may also make handwritten notes for ourselves, patients, and nurses to whom we hand off the care of our patients.
As you read this lesson and other assigned reading materials, you are again participating in written communication. Nurses are the ones who wrote your assigned readings, lessons, and the scholarly professional nursing journal articles you will read in this course.
Your Hood textbook and online lessons use the APA format to cite and reference resources. It is important to always give credit to the appropriate source for ideas and/or words you have borrowed. Failure to do so may be considered plagiarism and is a violation of the academic integrity policy at Chamberlain College of Nursing.
APA format can be confusing in the beginning. Like everything else worth learning, you will accomplish this. You can overcome this confusion and easily learn APA formatting. See the Week 3 Success Lessons in this course for important information on this topic.
Chamberlain College of Nursing has prepared excellent areas found as a course tile on your Dashboard called Success Strategies (SSPRNBSN) course resource to help you learn APA formatting and scholarly writing. There are also excellent APA format resources in the Course Resources found under Introduction & Resources within Modules on your left-hand navigation panel. Completion of the SSPRNBSN modules for APA Format and Scholarly Writing will aid in your success in online learning and written professional communication in the academic setting.
The professional nurse is the coordinator of care for patients, groups, and communities. This coordination requires expert professional collaboration by the professional nurse to promote health and improve patient outcomes. Collaboration involves complex interaction among healthcare professionals. This process takes work to be successful.
Collaboration and Communication
- What characteristics are needed for successful collaboration with your professional colleagues?
Successful collaboration involves working with others toward a shared goal. Improved health of the patient is the goal of all members of the healthcare team. By collaborating with others, the professional nurse is effectively using the roles of communicator and collaborator in professional practice. Each healthcare discipline or profession has unique skills to offer the patient. Collaborating with each other to improve patient outcomes results in patients receiving the best of each profession.
True collaborative practice involves cooperation and consultation among healthcare providers of different disciplines by working together to achieve goals (Kearney-Nunnery, 2016). Mutual respect and collaboration among healthcare professionals leads to quality patient outcomes. Power must be shared and control relinquished in a truly collaborative relationship (Blais & Hayes, 2011).
The nurse calls the physician and uses the SBAR to report a change in patient status and receive orders for lab work and medication.
- Is this really collaboration? Why, or why not?
Teamwork and Delegation
Nurses work within nursing teams and interprofessional (interdisciplinary) teams. Nurses need to rely on team members to contribute to the goals of the team and to help when needed. “Effective teamwork enables all team members to use their skills” (Hood, 2018, p. 459).
- How do you define good teamwork?
- How do you want others to behave on your team?
- What strategies do you demonstrate to be a good team member?
Delegation is an important action in nursing. Professional judgment is used when nurses delegate tasks to unlicensed assistive personnel (UAPs). UAPs are sometimes called Nursing Assistive Personnel (NAP) or other titles specific to the facility. Judgment is based on the nurse’s knowledge of the nursing law and rules (Nurse Practice Act or NPA) in the state where practicing.
- What tasks does your state allow you to delegate to UAPs?
- What guidance does your NPA provide to you in using professional nursing judgment in delegation?
- What tasks are not able to be delegated?
See the delegation resources (especially the Decision Tree on page 11-13 of the Working with Others document) from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (n.d.a) found at https://www.ncsbn.org/1625.htm (Links to an external site.).
See the Nurse Practice Act (National Council of State Boards of Nursing, n.d.b) resources from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing found at https://www.ncsbn.org/44.htm (Links to an external site.).
Many nurses resist delegation or do so rarely because they are concerned that
- they may delegate incorrectly;
- the UAP will not complete the task appropriately;
- others will think the nurse should do the task rather than delegate it;
- the nurse’s license will be at risk if the UAP makes an error; and/or
- little practice in delegation was done in school.
What information do you need to help you delegate effectively? If you are an expert at delegation, how can you help other nurses to gain these skills?
This week, we have considered the important competencies of communication and teamwork and collaboration. Nursing is not a solitary profession; we need to be experts in communicating and collaborating with professionals to help improve patient outcomes.
Test Your Knowledge
Now let’s take a few minutes to check our learning from this week.
Communication and Teamwork & Collaboration.
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