Communication in Nursing | Why It’s Vital for Effective Work

Those who work in the nursing field understand the vital role of having excellent communication skills.

Good communication requires listening to patients’ and coworkers’ needs and providing valuable information.

It enables healthcare professionals to ensure the best possible care.

It also keeps doctors, nurses, medical specialists, and other providers informed about the patient’s treatment and care.

Cooperation among nurses and other medical professionals significantly impacts a patient’s well-being.

As a result, few things are more important than education, training, and open communication.

Poor communication can often lead to preventable mistakes that can have temporary or long-term consequences. 

It includes specifying the wrong medication, improper diagnosis of ailments/conditions, and administering preliminary treatment plans.

In the worst cases, it leads to severe adverse outcomes for the patient or death due to misinformation or miscommunication.

Common Reasons for Miscommunication

health care facilities need systems to ensure everyone is communicating everything effectively.

It enables healthcare professionals to assess, diagnose, and treat their patients’ conditions properly. 

However, one of several factors is usually missing from the medical team in situations with poor communication.

Some contributing factors to poor communication include fear, burnout, a lack of quality information, miscommunication, education gaps, and emotional distress.:

Aspects of Poor Communication:

  • Fear
  • Exhaustion/burnout
  • A lack of quality information
  • Miscommunication
  • Education/experience gaps
  • Emotional distress


One common reason for poor communication is that a nurse lacks comfort or fears communicating with another specialist.

These issues can occur when a nurse feels intimidated by a coworker and doesn’t communicate to avoid judgment.

They may also lack confidence in their abilities as nurses and hope they make the correct decisions without communication.


Nurses working long shifts for extended periods often experience fatigue and burnout.

In turn, it lowers their focus, effectiveness, and ability to communicate effectively with patients and staff.

The best way to combat fatigue is to get plenty of rest and take frequent breaks whenever fatigue begins.

It’s also beneficial to have outside activities that rejuvenate them so they can manage work days more effectively.

However, it is often easier said than done, especially in busy healthcare settings wherenursing shortages occur frequently.

A lack of quality information

Effective communication requires understanding the situation entirely.

For instance, physicians must read the complete records and history of a patient’s medical condition to understand their ailment.

Nurses and doctors who receive only partial information are more prone to making mistakes and errors.

A lack of understanding of the entire situation means vital information may be missing from the assessment or treatment.


Miscommunication is comparable to the telephone game often played by children.

The first person in the group receives a specific phrase or piece of information.

When the statement reaches the last person in the group, it completely differs from what the first person said.

The same can quickly happen at a hospital or healthcare facility where several people work together on a project or patient.

Miscommunication can quickly occur if records aren’t updated and people aren’t communicating effectively.

Education/Experience gaps

An education or experience gap occurs when a less educated/experienced nurse works with much more educated professionals.

In this case, the inexperienced worker may have trouble understanding certain concepts, procedures, or medical terminology.

Those who’ve been in healthcare for years often forget that new nurses aren’t up to speed in all areas of healthcare.

These gaps lead to confusion, misinterpretation, inaction, and medical errors.

It results from a newer nurse’s inability to understand procedures and communicate effectively and thoroughly.

Emotional stress

Nurses with a lot of emotional stress or trauma may have difficulty focusing or expressing/communicating their feelings.

Emotional distress also causes nurses to misinterpret their perceptions, beliefs, and attitude toward certain situations.

As a result, it leads to preventable mistakes and reduces the attention they put on their work, patients, and coworkers.

How to Improve Communication in Nursing

Regular daily and weekly collaborative discussions are essential to improve communication between nurses and doctors.

Communication should focus on providing adequate patient care since they are the primary reason everyone is working.

It must also focus on addressing the needs of hospital employees, including nurses, physicians, and other specialists.

Burnout, fatigue, and miscommunication lead to many preventable healthcare-related issues for employees and patients.

Nurses feel more comfortable and collaborate better with other specialists by providing excellent medical care to patients.

Good communication often starts with the human resources department, supervisors, and management.

Management/supervisors must make the working setting a comfortable and open experience for nurses and other staff.

Otherwise, they risk nurses withholding information because they fear judgment, embarrassment, or guilt.

Nurses must receive support to share their concerns and be genuinely thanked for expressing their thoughts and opinions.

If nurses feel uncomfortable speaking openly to supervisors and managers about issues they believe are essential, there are many more opportunities for miscommunication and errors.

It’s also essential to have a strong support group to handle issues immediately before becoming more significant problems.

A strong support group helps nurses and healthcare workers reduce the emotional toll on their job and personal life.

It also creates trust, open communication, and feelings of accomplishment.

Many hospitals use checklists to ensure that nurses and doctors accomplish their work functions efficiently and effectively.

As a result, they can provide each patient with the best medical care possible.

In addition to building effective communication systems, nurses must get sufficient rest.

It’s imperative at hospitals or healthcare facilities where nursing shortages frequently occur.

If nurses become too exhausted, it causes them to make more mistakes and communicate less effectively.

It also hurts their health, creating more problems and less medical care for the patients.