Picture this scenario. You’re at your physician’s office or the hospital when the doctor steps in to explain the need for a medical procedure that is about to take place. But you’re not sure what that really means. It’s uncomfortable not knowing what to ask to better comprehend your condition and what it means for your health.
The physician walks out of the room, and the nurse steps in and asks, “Do you have any questions about what the doctor just discussed with you?” She doesn’t mean it condescendingly but instead, as a way to gauge your understanding. You breathe a sigh of relief because there is another opportunity to ask questions and someone who truly wants to ensure you are informed. Within her scope, the nurse verbally explains all she can in a way you can confidently understand. She even prints out a “What to Expect” pamphlet about the procedure so you can look at it later if needed. Anxiety levels have come down.
This example is one of the many ways nurses display their communication efficacy. As educators and problem-solvers who understand the importance of evidence-based practice, nurses use their expertise to convey medical information in clear, simple language the general public can understand. Because this is an everyday skill nurses use, healthcare companies would do well to choose a nurse to create their health-related content. Nurses can translate medical jargon into accessible terms beyond the bedside. Accordingly, this post will review nurses as effective communicators in health-related blogging.
How Nurses Communicate Health Information Effectively
Communication is a vital part of nursing. Nurses demonstrate nurse-to-nurse communication through verbal reports and written documentation of the patient’s care plan. Because the patient may receive a copy of the written documentation, it must be portrayed professionally.
Beyond collaboration within an interprofessional space, here are other ways nurses are effective communicators and the communication skills they possess:
- Through verbal communication, nurses establish patient relationships and trust, improving patient outcomes.
- Nonverbal communication or body language can make or break the patient’s confidence in the nurse’s care
- Assessing the patient’s understanding of their care plan ensures informed consent.
- Nurses provide patient education with medical knowledge according to the patient’s health literacy.
- Active listening is a tool nurses use to build trust with patients.
Beyond Medical Jargon: Nurses Simplifying Complex Health Concepts for the Public
Nurses are responsible for ensuring patients understand their care beyond confusing medical terminology. Nurses are the most trusted profession, and their ability to translate the provider’s language into vocabulary that is easy to understand and remember is a factor in improved patient outcomes. For example, they could make word switches, simplify complex processes, or use simple analogies. Instead of “edema,” the nurse may use “swelling”. For a cancer patient, saying “the cancer has spread to another part of your body” instead of “metastasis” is a straightforward explanation.
Simplifying medical jargon and health concepts is what nurses do. Nurses have a significant responsibility to ensure patients have informed consent. Assessing patient understanding of their care plan reduces the risk of confusion and unwanted care.
How Nurses Bridge the Gap Between Diverse Audiences with Their Communication Skills
Nurses learn to treat patients holistically, which means treating beyond the physical and into their emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and psychological needs.
Many barriers can disrupt effective communication, yet nurses can still provide compassionate care through these challenges. Nurses treat patients of various backgrounds and cultures and consider these distinct experiences when coordinating care. Cultural awareness is essential for building a good rapport between nurses and patients. People are also at different levels of health literacy, and the education nurses provide must reflect this. For example, a person with grade school-level reading ability may do better with a brochure containing simple words and sentences, bullet points, and a lot of white space to process the information. Simple illustrations for those with limited literacy are another excellent way healthcare providers can demonstrate their educational points. Nurse writers assist in assembling and producing these items.
Additionally, there are language barriers to consider. When the patient and nurse don’t share the same language, there may be limited communication and interaction between the two. Fortunately, with the help of technology, there are resources many employers utilize to provide language translation services.
Key Elements of Nurses as Communicators Reflected in Their Writing
As healthcare professionals in the business of providing hands-on, verbal, and written care to patients, nurses produce high-quality health-related content that pulls from their experience. Below are characteristics that describe great nurse communicators who can translate practice into writing:
- Critical thinkers
These elements are just a few reasons why investing in a nurse writer for your organization will prove worthy of your time and money to get the best medical content. With their advanced skills and knowledge within the healthcare space, nurses bring a lot to the table when it comes to being effective communicators for your audience. Whoever your audience may be, a nurse within that specialty is waiting to help!
Kanczula, A. (2023). How to simplify medical jargon in health communications. Thrive. https://www.thriveagency.uk/insights/how-to-simplify-medical-jargon-in-health-communications/
Sibiya M. N. (2018, March 21). Effective Communication in Nursing. InTech. https://www.intechopen.com/chapters/59779Indeed. (2023, February 3). Important Communication Skills for Nurses (With Tips). https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/communication-in-nursing