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Communication in Patient-Centered Care


Top-quality nursing practice and patient-centered care rely heavily on competent communication on behalf of the nurses. Good communication competency requires the nurses to develop a broad range of skills during both undergraduate and graduate education, and in the workplace. Patient-centered care is the core of these skills, which also include interprofessional collaborative practices and information and computer information systems. The medical staff and nurses in particular, also need to be able to evaluate communication barriers which are deterring them from using their skills to the full.

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Since efficient communication is essential for quality patient care, the core nursing competencies must be both understood and achieved by the nursing staff.

Communication Competencies

There is a constant search for new ways to improve and develop the US health care system, and to remove the inefficiencies which might be impeding the care for the patients. For this purpose, there is a lot of emphasis on the improvement of patient-centered care, interprofessional collaboration, and general communication in the workplace, between the staff and the patients, the families (Boykins, 2014).

Patient-Centered Care

It is generally agreed that quality health care is the result of incessant curative relationships between health care workers and clients. While all patients are equally important to the nursing staff, it is also true that each patient requires a unique approach, and it is vital for his well-being that his needs and values are considered. This is the essence of patient-centered care. It implies that the patient is the one who holds control over his therapy, and receives transparent and complete information, and is also educated where he needs to be, allowing him to make the correct choices.

Interprofessional Collaboration

Patients’ well-being requires extensive efforts on behalf of numerous medical fields. The importance of collaboration has been accepted as a necessity by such health care areas as nursing, pharmacy, medicine, dentistry, and professional public health associations. By striving towards efficient collaboration, communication, and cooperation between different spheres of healthcare, the medical personnel has a higher chance of achieving consistent excellent care.


Since developments in health care are heavily reliant on technological advancements and new equipment, the medical staff requires an acute understanding of such factors, as well as the flexibility to quickly adapt to new tools and methodologies developed for the medical industry. Health informatics allows both the nurses and the patients more control over medical information. This is equally essential for the clients, who can educate themselves and make informed choices about their conditions, and for the health care staff, who can optimize information exchange both horizontally and vertically, and with professionals from other medical fields as part of interprofessional collaboration.

Improving Communication

All of these competencies are deeply intertwined and together tied to communication. The only way nurses and other medical staff can benefit from patient-centered care, interprofessional collaboration, and informatics is by developing successful communication policies and eliminating barriers (Hood, 2013).

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Effective communication

Communication needs to be effective, correct, and achieve therapeutic goals before it can be considered competent and skillful. The purpose of communication is to provide both the medical staff and the client with all the information required to promote quick and helpful care. In this case, “medical staff” means nurses, physicians, and members of other related professions. With both audiences, the information passed on needs to be accurate, precise, and brief, and this applies to electronic, written, and verbal mediums. At the same time, effective communication needs to be two-directional, and nurses need to be good receptive of information.

Communication Barriers

To achieve this level of communication, the health care staff needs to be able to assess the communication barriers and overcome them. Such obstacles include difficulties in comprehension, levels of mental development, debilitating conditions, as well as social, economical and cultural situations. To overcome many of these hurdles, the nursing staff has to be able to accurately interpret visual, hearing, and perceptible information from the patients. They also need to be able to approach the patient by considering the physiological, social, religious, and cultural aspects of his or her personality.

One common issue that nursing staff has to overcome, is a lack of communication with physicians and other professionals. This is the result of different approaches in teaching people from different fields, as medical education often promotes the development of different values in nurses and other health care workers. This can be detrimental, because it can cause doctors to be dismissive of the nursing staff, disrupting teamwork, and, as a result, patient care as well.


Effective communication can be achieved through core communication competencies, which require a lot of input, attention, and responsibility on behalf of the medical staff. These qualities need to be developed both in the undergraduate and graduate medical education, as well as in the workplace, through courses and sharing of experience between colleagues. Patient-centered care, interprofessional collaboration, and informatics are the communication tools that enable the nursing staff to improve the client care outcomes and, as a result, provide safe care of the best quality.

Ultimately, communication competencies need to be developed throughout the education and career of nursing staff, and medical practitioners in general. Only through mastering all of them will the practitioners be able to provide the best service and care for the client.


Boykins, A. D. (2014). Core Communication Competencies in Patient-Centered Care. The ABNF Journal, 25(2), 40-45.

Hood, L. J. (2013). Leddy & Pepper’s Conceptual Bases of Professional Nursing (8th ed.). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

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