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Communication Principles in Professional Nursing


Communication is equally important in personal and professional life. However, in health care, improper information exchange could lead to adverse or even lethal patient outcomes (Hood, 2018). Due to this factor, communication as an aspect of the nursing profession can be considered vital and worthy of discussion. In this paper, the essential principles of communication and the usage of formulated checklists as a quality enhancement measure will be discussed.

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Essential Principles of Communication in Professional Nursing

There are multiple ways to communicate with other human beings. Words or verbal communication is probably the most widely used in society and the nursing profession specifically. However, as Hood (2018) suggests, 90% of the information is transmitted through nonverbal channels. Such channels include body language, gestures and signs, mimics, pauses, and so forth. Representatives of other cultures have their own ways of interpreting the same poses or gestures and consider some of them inappropriate. Due to such influence on the recipient, control for nonverbal communication is an essential principle of information exchange in professional nursing. Another paramount issue is the respect for one’s conversation partner. Be it a fellow nurse, physician, or patient nurses must behave professionally and respect personal space, avoid familiarity and inappropriate wording (Hood, 2018).

In communication with clients, integrity is of utmost importance. Not being genuine could result in the loss of credibility and problems with the establishment of a proper rapport. All of the presented principles, if followed and implemented in practice, could help nurses present themselves as trained and skilled professionals who can deliver the best quality of care.

Advantages of Using a Formulated Checklist for Handoff Communication

Health care professionals usually work in teams where communication is of the essence. Miscommunication could lead to adverse patient outcomes and significant losses for the clinic (Hood, 2018). According to Robins and Dai (2015), the usage of formulated checklists for handoff procedure could lead to significant benefits. This method of interprofessional communication is based on standardizing the procedure that reduces the number of uncertainties in the process of patient transfer. As a result of an introduction of enhanced procedure aligned with standards the number of content loss cases was significantly reduced (Robins & Dai, 2015).

Despite the fact that performing handoffs with the use of formulated checklists resulted in no substantial time saving, the increase of the process quality was documented. As misconducts could lead to mistake correction and additional time expenses, nurses may indirectly feel the improvement in this aspect. Another advantage of formulated checklists in comparison to conventional patient information reporting is that they allow negating communication style effects (Robins & Dai, 2015). Each person has a unique pattern or relaying information, which, in certain cases, could lead to miscommunication. Standardised forms for data collection and distribution aid in improving the accuracy of the data exchange. What is more, utilizing checklists is a more elegant solution to the improvement of the handoff procedure as opposed to limiting the number of patient transfers. As Robins and Dai (2015) report, the latter is resource consuming and not always possible.


All in all, each person communicates differently which could lead to misunderstandings. In professional nursing, it is of grave importance to standardize communication protocols as patients’ health and wellbeing depend on it. This could be accomplished through the implementation of communication principles such as the cautious use of nonverbal language, mutual respect, and integrity. To enhance procedures such as handoffs, nurses could utilize formulated checklists to avoid malpractice.


Hood, L. J. (2018). Leddy & Pepper’s professional nursing (9th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

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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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