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Importance of effective communication in nursing leadership

Updated April 17, 2017

The importance of effective communication in nursing leadership cannot be overstated when it comes to interacting with patients, medical teams and doctors. Miscommunication causes misunderstandings, low performance, misdiagnosis and patient suffering. Therefore, nurses in leadership positions must acquire effective communication skills in order to competently supervise teams.

Leadership Duties

Brookside Associates states that according to Eleanor Lamberton, who proposed a system of nursing, the daily routines of nurses in leadership require effective communication with all staff. Leading nurses must manage many roles such as instructing teams, developing the skills of new nurses, discussing the needs of patients, establishing goals, assigning duties and following up on directions.

Qualities Needed

Effective communication requires several other qualities, according to Lamberton. First, a leading nurse must be enthusiastic, confident and competent in many areas of nursing. Courses in social science, biology, nursing science and psychology, in addition to other knowledge, will give leading nurses the competence needed to communicate with effectiveness and know-how.

Interacting with Patients, Teams and Doctors

Nurses in leadership must communicate on many levels. Patients must be approached with caring, while team members must be giving clear instructions regarding their assignments. Doctors and physicians must be accurately informed regarding a patient's condition. Effective communication assures that all parties are in alignment with whatever situation emerges.

Communication Style

Effective communication doesn't only mean sharing information and telling team members what to do. The style in which a leading nurse communicates is also important. According to Deborah M. Nadzam, Ph.D., intimidating behaviour among nurses and physicians is a big problem when it comes to effective communication. Talking down to team members, showing frustration toward patients and out talking doctors instead of listening to their instructions are all evidence of communication problems. The display of emotions as well as body language can all play a roll in effective communication.

Communication Breakdowns

Incomplete tasks, uncertainty of duties, lack of clarification and patient misdiagnosis are all signs of communication breakdowns, according to Nadzam. Effective communication is designed to prevent such misfortunes from occurring. Yet, until team members have received clear and effective instructions regarding their assignments and duties, daily operations will not go smoothly. As a result, the communication effectiveness of leading nurses will lose credibility. .

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About the Author

Steve Glenn is a member of the Loft Writing Center in Minneapolis and has been writing professionally for over six years. He has written various newsletters and has published articles in the "Milwaukee Community Journal." Glenn holds a Bachelor of Science degree in English and education from Metro State University in St. Paul.