When a patient arrives at the hospital, they come with their own predetermined beliefs and expectations about the care they should receive. When it comes to patients’ care, nothing could be more basic or essential than communication. Nursing communication with patients is a key factor in building an “Always Culture”. It is imperative that nurses provide patient care that demonstrates courtesy, kindness, and sincerity. This series covers specific skills and best practices to improve nursing communication with patients.
The HCAHPS survey questions that deal with communicating with nurses are:
- During this hospital stay, how often did nurses treat you with courtesy and respect?
- How often did nurses listen carefully to you?
- How often did nurses explain things in a way that you could understand?
TACTICS & BEST PRACTICES
These questions address listening and communication, and if it was provided with courtesy and respect. It sounds simple, but in order to achieve an “always culture”, where patients answer survey questions with “always”, it is necessary to actively practice the basics of patient communication for every patient, every time.
While there are specific tactics that pertain to each of the questions on courtesy and respect, listening, and explaining; there are some general tactics with regards to communication that deserve attention.
The communication boards in patients’ rooms are an excellent strategy for increasing communication with patients. Not only should the boards be constantly updated with information, but timeliness and consistency should be a priority.
Regular rounding on patients is a tactic that can help with every metric of HCAHPS. Setting expectations and communicating effectively will help set patients’ expectations and give them a sense of being heard and well cared for.
BEDSIDE SHIFT REPORT
Bedside shift reporting is a conversation between the off-going nurse, the on-coming nurse, the patient, and their family. This is an ideal time to demonstrate courtesy and respect, listening, and clear communications.
COURTESY & RESPECT
Research shows that non-verbal communication and tone of voice communicate much more to patients than actual words. There are many tactics that can be used by staff to effectively demonstrate courtesy and respect when communicating with patients. Implementing the right communication tactics can help improve patient care and patient satisfaction.
One of the most impactful strategies to promote effective communication is clear explanations about a patient’s care. Explaining care is the process of communicating the “what” and “why” of any patient care situation. Utilizing the right messaging and maintaining consistency throughout the patient’s experience is essential.
Listening is one of the most important aspects of nurse communication, and it can have a profound impact on patient satisfaction. By listening effectively, nurses can be attentive to the needs of the patient and coordinate their care accordingly. Engaging with patients and their families, listening to their concerns, and communicating clear care explanations are all essential steps to providing a more memorable patient care experience.