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The Importance of Communication in Nursing

Brittany Fernandez


Broward College

April 14, 2017


The Importance of Communication in Nursing

Nursing is a profession that relies on effective communication to reach desired results in

patient outcomes. According to the Massachusetts Action Coalition (2014), communication is an

interactional process that is essential to delivering quality support to patients. All present and

future nurses must understand the importance of communicating with patients because it can

have a direct effect on how a patient is treated in the hospital. Lack of communication can be

critical to a patients health and can postpone necessary treatment options. It is equally

significant for nurses to communicate with other members of the healthcare team to provide the

most suitable care to the patients.

Communication Between Nurses and Patients

Communication between a nurse and a patient is based on building a trusting relationship.

Exceptional customer service is the start to developing a more confident bond between the two.

Aimee Doman (2013) reported that customer service and communication are interrelated, and

both contribute to building rapport with patients. Once a patient feels comfortable, he or she is

more likely to disclose information and ask questions. Awareness regarding a patients condition

can help establish a more appropriate care plan. In contrast, poor communication can lead to

consequences during the recovery period (Saldaa, Alarcn, & Romero, 2015). Communication

is imperative because it can prevent incorrect diagnoses, and as a result can increase patient


Communication between a nurse and a patient also involves education. The

Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (2016) states that part of a nurses position is to

accept the role of an educator to both patients and family members. A patient may be diagnosed

for the first time or may have had a condition for many years. Nevertheless, all patients need

education about their disease. Education can decrease readmissions to the hospital and limit the

amount of infections and deaths that may occur. The internet has become an excellent source for

information; however, patients may not know how to read or the medical terminology may

difficult to understand. Patients need clear and simple explanations concerning their diagnoses.

To determine if patients require more education, it is crucial for nurses to ask patients if they

have any questions. Without proficient communication between a nurse and a patient, patient

education is unsuccessful.

Communication Between Nurses and the Healthcare Team

Communication between nurses and the healthcare team is encouraged, so everyone can

work together to ensure patients are receiving proper treatment. A common problem that can

interfere with productive teamwork is the failure of nurses and physicians to communicate. Since

nurses spend the most time with patients, one of their tasks is to relay important updates to the

physicians. It is also the job of the physician to connect with nurses frequently to confirm that

patients are doing well with the prescribed regimen. Kadda (2013) wrote that when

communication between nurses and physicians is adequate, it can have the advantage to improve

patient satisfaction. Communicating with other nurses is also a vital part of nursing. One way

nurses connect with one another is during a change-of-shift report. This allows nurses to hand-

off critical details about the patients. To guarantee complete hand-off reports, nurses can use the

I-SBAR-R method. This provides knowledge regarding the patients 1) identification, 2)

situation, 3) background, and 4) current assessment (Zerwekh & Garneau, 2015). The I-SBAR-R

method is meant to act as a guide to avoid fragments in care. Communication and cooperation

from all group members should be put into practice daily because it can limit the number of

mistakes that occur in a healthcare setting (Zerwekh & Garneau, 2015).



Communication is the foundation to quality nursing. Nurses are responsible for

communicating with patients and filling in the missing blanks. Inadequate and incomplete

information can contribute to delays and errors in treatment. Nurses also have the responsibility

to collaborate with their colleagues to ensure an appropriate plan is put into action.

Communication is necessary to keep patients safe in the hospital as well as when they are

discharged from the healthcare facility.



Achury Saldaa, D. M., Pinilla Alarcn, M., & Alvarado Romero, H. (2015). Aspects that

facilitate or interfere in the communication process between nursing professionals and

patients in critical state. Investigacion & Educacion En Enfermeria, 33(1), 102-111.


Doman, A. (2013). Communication is customer service. Colorado Nurse, 113(4), 16. Retrieved



Kadda, O. (2013). Effective physician-nurse communication. Health Science Journal, 7(4), 237-

238. Retrieved from


Massachusetts Action Coalition. (2014, May). The Massachusetts nursing core competencies: A

toolkit for implementation in education and practice settings. Retrieved from

Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (2016). Massachusetts nurse of the future

nursing core competencies. Retrieved from

Zerwekh, J., & Garneau, A. Z. (2015). Nursing today: transition and trends (8th ed.). St. Louis,

MO: Elsevier Saunders.