Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Professional Language and Culture in the Workplace

The field of nursing in itself is vast and infinite. Regardless of what specific area one chooses to embark on, one thing remains the same..........the need for effective communication. Because nurses find themselves actively communicating with various types of people IE. fellow health care professionals, patients with a variety of complaints and illnesses, religious figures such as a priest or a minister, and even some who come from an entirely different culture that may speak little to no English, it is of vital importance that nurses understand the critical role that communication plays in the workplace. For example the way a nurse would speak to a doctor or fellow nurse is typically different then the way he or she may speak to a patient. The average nurse understands that patients can't always be expected to understand medical jargon. Therefore when providing patient teaching it is essential to explain things in a simple manner that is easily understood by the average person. However, one mustn't also "dumb it down" so to speak in such a manner that the patient is insulted. On the other hand, if a nurse were to speak in the previously described manner to a fellow health care provider, that nurse may appear unintelligent and unprofessional. Nurses must also understand the state of mind of their patients. For example someone who is heavily sedated, just coming out of surgery is much less likely to understand any education provided then someone who is ready to be discharged home after recovering from an acute illness. One must always consider nonverbal communication as well in any type of environment. It is important to be mindful of any gestures, whether intentional or not, that one is portraying. If a patient asks a nurse a question and he or she folds his or her arms followed by an eye roll, the patient is not going to be likely to ask any more pertinent questions because of the offensive response he or she just received. Much like like communication that a nurse portrays, it is vital that he or she be attentive to various forms of communication as well. Active listening is just as important when communicating as speaking.

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