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Clinician Resources / Professional Development / Brushing Up on Communication Skills Gives NPs a Boost

Essential communication skills can help nurse practitioners make a big impact.

Communication skills are important when you spend each day seeing patients and coordinating care. Strong communication skills are often at the top of hiring manager's "must have" list when choosing nurse practitioners (NP) and physician assistants (PA) to join their teams and practices. Effective NP communication skills are especially critical, considering many NPs spend each day seeing patients and coordinating care.

Increasingly, nurse practitioners are working collaboratively with physicians. NPs in this environment assume the role of "front-line, minute-to-minute information providers in multidisciplinary practices," as described in an article in Nursing Economics magazine. NPs also interface with other nurses, physical therapists, social workers, and health care specialists, depending on the clinical area. Optimal patient care is the goal. Successful NPs frequently use patient-centered communication techniques to build rapport, understand patients' concerns, communicate care plans, and motivate treatment compliance.

Studies have shown this "ability to explain, listen, and empathize" can have a significant effect on patient health outcomes, satisfaction, and experience of care," according to the website of the Institute for Healthcare Communication.[note]Institute for Healthcare Communication. Impact of Communication in Healthcare. Published July 2011. Accessed July 15, 2016.[/note]

It's no surprise then, that NP communication skills are one of the attributes hiring managers interview for. If you're a nurse practitioner, it's never too late to brush up on essential communication techniques to become more effective on the job. A quick refresher may even help you land your next NP job. Consider how the following techniques could give you a boost in your next interview or professional interaction.

  • Asking Open-Ended Questions Encourage others to share by asking questions that elicit a more detailed response than a simple "yes" or "no" answer.
  • Sharing Observations Communicate your insight on a situation or offer a new perspective.
  • Paraphrasing Clarify a question or conversation by restating what you heard the other person say.
  • Providing Relevant Information Share details and recommendations that satisfy the specific needs of your listener.
  • Collaboration Engage the other person by identifying a common goal and suggesting ways you can work together.

Arguably, one of the most overlooked communication techniques is the ability to actively listen and receive feedback. Allow for moments of silence in your conversations to provide time for reflection and understanding.

If you are currently seeking NP & PA opportunities, click on the links below to apply for openings with healthcare leaders. Sign-up to find more such opportunities!

This article was originally published on Melnic by Jill Gilliland. Melnic was recently acquired by DirectShifts.

Post by DirectShifts
October 16, 2022


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