Communication is one of the most important skills you can have in a hospital environment. In many cases, patient outcomes are dependent on effective communication between caregivers.
Communicating with managers and co-workers that you already know is often challenging – communicating with healthcare professionals you have just met can be even more difficult. The Joint Commission says that, “communication breakdowns, whether between care providers or between care providers and their patients, is the primary root cause of the nearly 3,000 sentinel events – unexpected deaths and catastrophic injuries – that have been reported to The Joint Commission.
Effective communication between healthcare professionals is essential for an optimal outcome as it can facilitate interactions, reduce medication errors, and improve patient care. Ineffective communication, such as poor communication, misinterpretation, unclear telephone orders, and overlooked changes in patient status, compromises patient safety.
It can take years for some healthcare teams to build the professional relationships necessary for effective communication. Because travel nurses change jobs every few months, they face reduced time to establish relationships that foster good communication. It is still vital to practice effective communication in order to you switch jobs every few months, travel nurses do not have this much time to communicate in a way that optimizes patient safety and outcome.
Fortunately, there are ways a travel nurse can build the mutual trust necessary for effective communication with co-workers and managers.
Be clear and concise during end-of-shift reporting and in your conversations with co-workers and managers. Find the most efficient balance between sharing pertinent information about patient status and reporting irrelevant data. Bring the patient charts with you for report or create notes throughout the shift.
The backdrop of a busy hospital environment can distract your attention and prevent you from understanding what your managers and co-workers are trying to communicate. While nursing often requires multitasking, try to stop what you are doing long enough to pay attention to what another caregivers are saying. If you cannot stop, ask the other person to wait a moment until you can give your undivided attention.
Address your co-worker or manager by name or title, whichever is most appropriate for the setting. Make eye contact. Ask questions if you do not understand what is being shared.
Use accepted medical terminology rather than slang. This is especially important as your travel nursing duties take you to different parts of the country, where language and dialect differences can hamper communication between your co-workers and managers and you.
Try to enunciate your words without slurring. Adjust the volume of your voice for the setting, speaking louder for a group than in a private conversation. Always convey a professional demeanor and be honest in your communication.
Practice helps you improve your communication skills. The more you communicate with co-workers and managers, the more effective your travel nursing communications will become.
PPR Travel Nursing understands the special challenges travel nursing entails. We always put you first. Contact us at www.pprtravelnursing.com. We would love to hear from you.