“Communication is the heart of nursing… your ability to use your growing knowledge and yourself as an instrument of care and caring and compassion” (Koerner, 2010, as cited in Balzer-Riley, 2012, p. 2). The knowledge base which Koerner is referring to includes important concepts such as communication, assertiveness, responsibility and caring (Balzer-Riley, 2012). Furthermore, communication is complex. It includes communication with patients, patient families, doctors, co-workers, nurse managers and many others. Due to those concepts and the variety of people involved, barriers and issues are present. Knowing how to communicate efficiently can be difficult.
The intent of this paper is to analyze interviews with a staff nurse and a nurse manager. The interview questions revolve around what the nurses perceive as the main communication issues at work. More specifically, the communication issues with patient communication, communication with colleagues and communication with leadership/administration. This paper will also list three actions that would improve communication in response to the issues raised during the interviews.
Staff Nurse Interview
In an interview with a staff nurse (S.N), the main problem within patient communication included lack of patient’s (and family) involvement/willingness in planning cares. The staff nurse emphasized how “Patients often feel overwhelmed and do not want to participate. But, it is important for patients to be involved in their care for better outcomes” (S.N., personal communication, February 5, 2014). The staff nurse’s statement is supported by Evans (2013) whom remarked “better-informed patients avoid unnecessary care and frustration”.
Issues with communication between colleagues for the staff nurse included differences in personalities and learning styles. Some of the main difficulties were with nurse-provider communication. “I am relatively new here. Sometimes the providers act annoyed when I call to update them on a patient status or to ask for a new order. I am polite to them (provider), and I wonder why that isn’t reciprocated” (S.N., personal communication, February 5, 2014). Furthermore, S.N. states “I hope this improves as we get to know each other better”. Adjusting to new staff routinely can be difficult. Clark & Greenawald (2013) also notes those difficulties, in referring to the high turnover in the medical field and nursing leadership and how that presents challenges in readjusting and relearning personalities, styles, and skills.
Complexities with staff nurses interacting with administration revolved around lack of approachability and administration not “being present” (S.N., personal communication, February 5, 2014). S.N. states at her last job, the manager used to complete rounds with the inpatients. At her current job, the manager does not. She states this (rounding) made it easier for staff nurses to bring up issues and helped the patient see the unit working...