One of the tags Nurses has received from the public is Nurses are rude. I have gotten this feedback in almost 95% of places I have been to and I cannot blame them because I have witnessed many colleagues treating patients/relatives with bad manners and rudeness.
As nurses, we relate with most people when they are unable to coordinate their thoughts/actions as a result of illness/admission of their loved ones into the hospital.
In other to correct this wrong perception of nurses (as rude people), we need to have good interpersonal and communication skills.
Good interpersonal relationship skills are the foundation for good working/social relationships and also for developing other skills.
Without good interpersonal relationship skills, it is difficult to develop other important skills. So it is worth spending quality time to develop.
Interpersonal relationship/communication skills are used every day and in every area of our lives. Many Nurses (even me) usually become patients and relatives friends because they are approachable and have good interpersonal skills.
In order to develop good interpersonal relationship/communication skills, one must do the followings:
Identify areas for improvement: the first step towards development is knowing/acknowledging one’s area of weakness(es) (for example some nurses get irritated easily when they are tired/under pressure). Try to get feedbacks from people!
Focus on your basic communication skills: By now we should all know that communication is not just by the words that comes out of our mouth, it also includes listening (as nurses, we should not only hear but listen to what patients are saying, take note of facial expression, gestures and expressions).
When we are talking, we should be conscious of the words we use in order to avoid misinterpretations. Learn how to be clear, give room for feedbacks by asking questions.
Also pay attention to your Non-verbal communication i.e your facial expression, body gestures/movement, and tone of your voice when you are talking. Because sometimes, the tone and the facial expressions can lead to misinterpretation.
It has been established that Non-verbal communication plays a bigger role (about ¾ of the message) in communication.
Your non-verbal communication can either establish/contradict the message of your words.
We must also learnt to interpret other peoples body language.
Improve Your Advanced Communication skills: This means that, you should understand the barriers to having effective/good communication and reduce the likelihood of ineffective interpersonal communication/misunderstandings.
Some of the barriers to effective communication include;
Physical barriers: When you cant see/hear the speaker clearly such as on phone calls, or talking to someone next door, language barriers.
Emotional barriers: such as lack of interest, anger, aggression, fear, stress etc.
Good communication is the foundation of great interpersonal relationship, watch out for the continuation and concluding part in the next edition.
Before then, Know that you need to take control of your emotions in difficult situation in order to communicate effectively and avoid misunderstandings.
Adenike Oladimeji, RN
Copyright © 2018 | Fellow Nurses Africa | All Rights Reserved