Managing Stress Through Communication Skills
The nursing profession is laden with situations that can lead to stress if improperly managed. Coworkers need to collaborate to . Patients and nurses ought to work together to . Medical doctors must understand key aspects of the care process. If nurses inappropriately handle any of these situations, they could develop stress. Communication is one of the platforms for eliminating such misunderstandings and ensuring that nurses provide error-free care.
Communication skills choice to manage stress
I chose communication skills as a stress-management tool because it may minimize instances of poor patient safety. For instance, when one needs to carry out a bedside handover, effective communication is vital because it ascertains that the next batch of nurses understands patients needs. Communication failure could place patients safety at risk and this would increase stress levels (Christie & Robinson, 2009).
Intercultural issues may come in the way of effective service provision. A nurse who does not have a good command of the national language will have difficulties in understanding what patients, doctors, lab technicians, accountants, and other individuals have to say. This could lead to stress because one could have the right technical knowledge but lack the communication skills needed to apply them. As an international nursing student, I have come in contact with patients who do not understand my accent and have had difficulties when communicating with me. Unless one can assure the patient of their competence through effective communication, this could lead to rejection of the nurse and stress within the care environment.
In the process of providing care, nurses do not just work with patients; they also interact with family members and close associates. Communicating with this category of persons can go a long way in preventing potential mishaps and misunderstandings. For instance, a post-surgery patient may have developed complications during the surgical procedure. What seemed like a simple process may turn out into a problematic one that necessitates intensive care.
The family members of the patients could feel anxious about their loved ones and may also express concern about the hospitals ability to care for the patient. If left untamed, this situation could lead to stress because the family members may be tempted to act impulsively. Nurses must use effective communication skills to in such family units (Waters & Whyte, 2012). They could detect this anxiety and alleviate it by reassuring the family members of their commitment to the patients recovery.
Importance of communication skills in my nursing program and my future profession
The nursing profession is one in which care is a central aspect of the vocation. Therefore, ones ability to communicate can make the difference between perceptions of care or negligence among patients and other stakeholders. Nurses must come into contact with a series of people who express themselves differently. How the nurse engages and listens to them affects how well he or she responds to their needs.
Complaints can arise in nursing care from time to time. Patients may approach a nurse about a certain issue and the caregiver may need to respond immediately. Alternatively, administrators may notify nurses about a certain challenge that has arisen in the institution. Effective communication can create a culture of transparency in the institution because nurses would know how to deal with such situations. If it was an oversight on their part of the hospital, they could apologize and explain how the situation will not arise again. However, if it is a case of mismatched expectations, then the concerned nurse can still explain the limitations of care provision in the hospital.
Good communication will be essential in my profession because it will assist me in understanding patients emotional and physical needs. Pain alleviation, medical administration, and eradication of emotional worries can all be carried out effectively if a nurse is a good communicator. The person will seek creative ways of finding out about a patients situation. Effective communication is imperative in nursing because it builds trust between patients and healthcare providers such that they can stick to their prescribed treatments. Patients in healthcare institutions require a stress-free environment to recover fully. If their caregivers communicate effectively with them, then chances are that they would experience less stress. This may manifest in the form of physical outcomes such as low blood pressure or other tangible benefits (Wallis, 2011).
Examples of scenarios where effective communication alleviated stress
In one situation, I was responsible for the measurement of vitals during a morning round. I realized that most of the patients were going through the preset procedures and meeting the doctor as required. However, a group of three adults had been at the waiting station for close to two hours. One of them was an elderly person while the other two appeared to be in their mid-thirties. I decided to ask them into the measurement unit and explained what they were supposed to do. They told me that they had not bothered to submit their details to us because they had assumed that we would call out the patients name when it was her turn.
The group had started with the records department and had assumed that their information would be conveyed to us. Since there was a lot of traffic in the waiting area, they could not tell whether this was the right procedure or not. I explained that one must notify the measurement unit of their presence and then hand in documentation for the same. They seemed relieved after I furnished them with this information. If I had not asked them to enter the measurement unit, they would likely have continued to do the same. They might have reported the matter to my supervisor or continued to crowd the waiting area. This would have been a source of stress on my part and the patients.
During my third semester, I had to check on a diabetic patients medication. The concerned doctor asked me to ensure that he stuck to his treatment program. I was not sure how to go about it because I had not seen or cared for the patient before. As I was administering the medication, I engaged in small talk with him. I asked him whether it was his first time to be admitted because of the condition and he stated that it was not. He had been diabetic for over twenty years and had managed to keep the symptoms of the ailment at bay. However, this superficial situation caused him to become overconfident and he lost track of his nutritional regimen as well as his fitness goals. I asked him how the admission had affected his normal routine and he replied that it had interrupted his job as well as his family time.
I quickly established that the patients key motivation would be spending time with his family as well as staying at work. I devised a follow-up program in which I would visit the patient twice a week throughout his entire hospital stay; he promised to stick to the treatment program. Through light conversation and effective listening, I was able to extract useful information about the patients values. If he did not open up to me, I might have been unable to convince him to stick to treatment and this would have created conflict between his doctor and me.