Communication may be verbal, non-verbal, or inferred through the actions that a nurse may take or avoid. Communication may be a single sentence that begins with the sender, but the receiver is the integral part of the process where the message is interpreted and placed in context with a larger discourse. Communication is ubiquitous and pervasive. Every bit of information that is transferred from nurses to the world around them comes through some form of communication. In today's fast paced world of nursing, where accuracy and time can make the difference between success and failure, communication becomes the most critical component driving a patient's outcome.
The structure of a health care setting today is far more inter-dependent than at any other time in history. Cultural and social diversity have made the communications between nurses and patients at risk of miscommunication, but has also presented nurses with the opportunity to be more articulated and meaningful. Communication skills are an area where it is sometimes difficult to measure, yet there are always issues that warrant improvement. In addition, knowledge is passed from nurses, specialists, and physicians through the act of communicating. It is one of the single most important activities that a health care worker engages in. Technology has presented nurses with new opportunities and methods of communication, though there is always some resistance to change within any group. This paper will evaluate some of the current literature in regards to communications among the nursing profession. By knowing what technologies are available, the current thinking on communication, and the impact of culture and diversity, nurses can elevate the status of their communications and get more value for the time that they spend communicating
Some of the most prevalent and important communications for a nurse takes place between the nurse and the patient. Known traditionally as bedside manner, these may be critical instructions on self-care, or may be the casual words that offer the patient hope, support, comfort, and esteem. A nurse may be viewed as being positive and caring by being compassionate, genuine, and sympathetic, or alternately display the negative traits of arrogance, rudeness, or indifference (Person and Finch 6-7). This alters not only a patient's view of the hospital and its level of care, but may also have more lasting implications. According to Person and Finch, "the patient's perception of provider bedside manner impacts health status, satisfaction, and compliance" (Person and Finch 1). A nurse may need to communicate instructions that are necessary to maintain the patient's follow up care after they have been discharged from the hospital. This may be in a context where death, illness, and family wishes need to be considered from a cultural vantage point. The nurse may be the most vital actor in explaining and clarifying the information that the physician gave a patient during a hurried period of anxiousness (Ufema 70). The nurse can bridge the critical gap between 'cure' and 'care', and begin to communicate in terms of peace and closure, rather than the more technical language that might be expected from a physician (Ufema 70). If the