Skilled Communication

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Skilled communication can save lives. Promoting open and effective conversation among team members optimizes patient outcomes and encourages essential collaboration. It also helps newer nurses get up to speed more quickly.

Standard Definition

Nurses must be as proficient in communication skills as they are in clinical skills.

Critical Elements

For Organizations

  1. The health care organization provides team members with support for and access to interprofessional education and coaching that develop critical communication skills, including self-awareness, inquiry/dialogue, conflict management, negotiation, advocacy, and listening.
  2. The health care organization establishes zero-tolerance policies and enforces them to address and eliminate abuse and other disrespectful behavior in the workplace.
  3. The health care organization establishes formal structures and processes that ensure effective and respectful information sharing among patients, families, and the health care team.
  4. The health care organization establishes systems that require individuals and teams to formally evaluate the impact of communication on clinical and financial outcomes, and the work environment.
  5. The health care organization includes communication as a criterion in its formal performance appraisal system, and team members demonstrate skilled communication to qualify for professional advancement.

For Individuals

  1. Nurses and all other team members are accountable for identifying personal learning and professional growth needs related to communication skills.
  2. Skilled communicators focus on finding solutions and achieving desirable outcomes.
  3. Skilled communicators seek to protect and advance collaborative relationships among colleagues.
  4. Skilled communicators invite and hear all relevant perspectives.
  5. Skilled communicators call upon goodwill and mutual respect to build consensus and arrive at common understanding.
  6. Skilled communicators demonstrate congruence between their words and actions, holding others accountable for doing the same.
  7. Skilled communicators have access to appropriate communication technologies and are proficient in their use.
  8. Skilled communicators seek input on their communication styles and strive to continually improve.

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