Communication in Professional Nursing


Communication as a basic human ability to verbally and non-verbally exchange information is of grave importance in professional nursing. It is fundamental for each nurse to be able to communicate properly in order to comply with practice standards, fit within legal or ethical boundaries, and be able to address a plethora of health-related issues (Hood, 2013). It is also vital to transfer knowledge into principles and tools that allow streamlining the process of information exchange. Therefore, due to the exclusive significance of communication, its essential principles and advantages of checklists will be discussed in this paper.

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Essential Principles of Communication in Professional Nursing

Communication in professional nursing can be viewed from nurse-patient and nurse-physician or nurse-nurse perspective. In termes of interprofessional communication, health care environment involves various procedures and processes that require multiple professionals to exchange information effectively. In addition, communication in a professional environment needs to be based on respect in order to be productive. According to Hood (2013), this principle is a clue to establishing valid collaborative relationships with fellow specialists.

Nurses need to be equally concerned about building effective communication with their patients. Exchange of critical information with them needs to be based on mutual trust and respect (Hood, 2013). As Hood (2013) suggests, nurses need to be aware of professional boundaries in order to keep the nature of the therapeutic process intact. The success of treatment provision often depends on how well a nurse can relay information and support decision-making through verbal and non-verbal channels. Cultural aspect in communication is also vital for profitable information exchange. Knowledge of gestures, eye contact, touching, and body language traditions can certainly help a nurse to establish a rapport that helps provide the best quality service (Hood, 2013).

Advantages of Using a Formulated Checklist for Handoff Communication

Formulated checklist for a patient transition from unit to unit is an essential tool for doctors and nurses. Handoffs usually involve information exchange on the quality of which depends on the life, health, and well-being of a patient (Robins & Dai, 2015). Frequent errors in communication are the main factor in using formulated checklists. Among its core advantages is the elimination of communication errors. These tools help capture all necessary information and avoid omissions dangerous for patient’s health (Robins & Dai, 2015). In addition, they assist in the establishment of adequate reporting procedures including the six key elements of a report. According to the results of the experiment conducted by Robins and Dai (2015), 92% of the nurses who used handoff checklists were able to successfully capture all the necessary patient data.

Furthermore, checklists allow for a time economy that could be rather essential for nurse professionals. Increase in the speed and accuracy of the handoff procedure helps nurses concentrate more on caregiving rather than paperwork (Robins & Dai, 2015). In addition to that, checklists provided better clarification of the patient’s condition and treatment needs. As professionals in different settings are different persons, miscommunication may often happen, which a checklist successfully prevents (Robins & Dai, 2015).


All things considered, communication is a vital aspect of health care. Nurses need to stay professional and knowledgeable of cultural and ethical considerations. Principles of respect and purposeful communication help maintain adequate relationships with colleagues and patients. In order to further enhance information exchange, especially in handoffs, nurses need to use checklists that allow to save time and avoid communication errors.


Hood, D. L. (2013). Leddy & Pepper’s conceptual bases of professional nursing (8th edition). Philadelphia, PA: LWW.

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Robins, H. M., & Dai, F. (2015). Handoffs in the postoperative anesthesia care unit: Use of a checklist for transfer of care. AANA Journal, 83(4), 264-268.

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