In healthcare effective communication, within an organisation is an important skill that all staff must develop, if they are to perform their role effectively and appropriately. Team members require good communication skills, which range from listening and negotiation, to goal setting and assertiveness, being able to utilise these skills in a variety of situations. Thus, as a ward sister on a busy stroke unit it is imperative, that I have a good grasp of the communication process, and factors that may inhibit effective communication within my work place.
Understand the nature and importance of the communication process in the workplace
Effective communication skills are essential within nursing, as communication underpins team work, and fosters the development of a therapeutic nurse client relationship; which refers to a unique relationship that reflects trust, empathy, respect and confidentiality between the nurse and the patient. Moreover, Poor or ineffective communication is a major cause of complaints in the NHS. Furthermore, communication failures are often identified as the cause or a contributing factor in health services failures and untoward incidents.
Theories of communication are generally based around the completion of a cycle, within which messages are sent and received. The first step of the communication cycle involves the encoding and sending of the message. When doing this the sender of the message must consider what massage that needs to be conveyed, and the profile of the recipient. Interacting with a child for example, will differ vastly from interactions with a line manager. The sender must also consider mode of communication, as a verbal message may need to be designed differently to a written one.
The massage is then received, decoded, and interpreted by the receiver. However, this process is dramatically affected “noise”. Noise, is the term used to refer to factors that interfere with communication and distort the original message. The final stage of the communication cycle involves feedback, this plays a vital role in confirming that the message has maintained its original meaning, and that it has been received and understood, in the way that it was intended.
There are many barriers to communication within a busy hospital environment. Communication barrier are said to be present when there is difficulty in sending message. Barriers often do not create a total block to the message being communicated, but the message becomes distorted during transmission. There are many factors that create barriers to effective communication such as age, gender, social class, ethnicity, social status, language, power, social roles and psychological factors. Within my workplace, the barriers to communication with patients are compounded by the nature of stoke, as many of the patients that I care for have communication difficulties meaning that they have difficulty encoding and decoding as a result of their stroke. With regards to communicating as part of a team, the main barriers tend to be environmental, as the busyness of the unit means that it is often noisy, with lots of different people trying to communicate different messages quickly, at the same time within a confined space.
Overcoming the barriers to communication is critical, to effective communication in the work place. This can be achieved by the sender, ensuring that the message they wish to send is properly organised, and pitched at the right level for the receiver. When communicating with patients or families, it is useful to ensure that medical jargon is avoided, and where possible that communication takes place in a suitable environment, with minimal distractions or interruptions, in order to reduce “noise”. Employing strategies to ensure opportunity for feedback is one of the most successful ways to overcome barriers to communication, as it allows for the identification of