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Crucial Communication Skills for Nurse Educators

Have you ever been in a situation where you didn’t feel heard? It can feel extremely frustrating, especially when you deserve to voice your opinions or concerns.

Nursing is a profession in which effective communication is essential. Particularly, nurse educators must possess stellar communication skills and delineate those skills to their students.

As a nurse educator, the ability to convey information clearly and accurately to students is crucial for their development and eventual success in delivering high-quality patient care. Lamar University’s Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in Nursing Education online program prepares graduates with the necessary communication skills to succeed in the profession and teach future generations of nurses.

The Importance of Communication in Care Delivery

According to an article published in The Clinical Teacher, effective communication is critical to care delivery. It allows nurses to establish rapport and trust with patients, families and colleagues — as well as assess and respond to the needs of patients accurately. Furthermore, it enables nurses to collaborate with other healthcare professionals effectively, ensuring the best possible patient outcomes.

Some examples of communication functions in care delivery include the following:

  • Patient assessment. Accurate and efficient communication enables nurses to gather essential information about a patient’s condition, which informs the decision-making process regarding treatment and care.
  • Patient education. Nurses must be able to clearly explain the nature of a patient’s condition, treatment options and care plan to patients and their families, empowering them to make informed decisions about their health.
  • Emotional support. Empathetic and compassionate communication helps nurses provide emotional support and comfort to patients and families during difficult times.
  • Interprofessional collaboration. Clear and concise communication fosters collaboration among healthcare professionals, ensuring a seamless and well-coordinated care plan.

Role of Listening in Healthcare

Listening is a fundamental aspect of effective communication in healthcare. By actively listening to patients, nurses can better understand their needs, concerns and preferences, leading to more personalized and effective care. Additionally, active listening promotes a culture of empathy and understanding, which can contribute to the overall patient experience and satisfaction.

Nurse educators can foster listening skills in their nursing students by instructing them on the following:

  • Encouraging open-ended questions. These types of questions allow patients to share more information and help nurses better understand their situation.
  • Practicing active listening. This behavior involves focusing on the speaker, avoiding distractions and providing verbal and non-verbal feedback to demonstrate understanding. For instance, leaning in is a positive signal of listening, while sitting back and crossing one’s arms is not.
  • Demonstrating empathy. Empathy helps establish rapport and trust between nurses and patients, making patients feel heard and understood. They then feel more comfortable sharing personal concerns about their health.

Preceptorship Teaching Structure and Its Benefits

Hands-on training is an excellent way for nurse educators to elicit the best outcomes among their students. A Nurse Education in Practice article describes the basic principles of the preceptorship teaching structure, which involves pairing a nursing student with an experienced nurse (preceptor) for hands-on clinical training. This relationship allows students to observe, learn from and practice skills under the guidance of their preceptor.

Developing solid communication skills within a preceptorship structure offers several benefits:

  • Enhanced learning experience. Effective communication between preceptors and students enables a more efficient transfer of knowledge and skills, ultimately improving students’ clinical competence.
  • Professional development. By practicing and refining their communication skills, students become better prepared to work effectively with colleagues, patients and families in their future nursing careers.
  • Improved patient care. As students develop better communication skills, they can more effectively assess patients, collaborate with other healthcare professionals and provide personalized care — leading to improved patient outcomes.

Is Nursing Education Your Calling?

Nurse educators are vital in preparing the next generation of nurses to deliver high-quality patient care. Nurse educators can help ensure a more empathetic, competent and collaborative workforce within the healthcare industry by emphasizing the importance of effective communication and fostering listening skills in their students.

Fortunately, nurse educators don’t have to develop this expertise on their own. Programs like the MSN in Nursing Education online program at Lamar University prepare nurse educators for their critical role in nursing education. Specifically, the Advanced Nursing Issues & Health Policy course prepares students to master vital communication skills, as it covers “professional, social and workplace issues related to the advanced nursing role.”

Upon completing the program, graduates will be equipped to fill influential roles in the healthcare industry, such as nurse educator, clinical instructor, assistant professor, patient educator and faculty development director. Depending on preference for pace, students can complete the program in as few as 24 months. This means nurses can start pursuing their desired career path sooner rather than later.

Learn more about Lamar University’s MSN in Nursing Education online program.

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