December 19, 2008 | | Comments 1
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Communicate and commit to nursing

by Kathleen Bartholomew, RC, RN, MN

Healthcare is characterized by a culture of silence, especially surrounding errors. Deeply embedded in both the physician and nurse culture is the belief that good nurses and physicians don’t make mistakes. Whether vocalized or not, we expect perfection from these human beings, and this is unarticulated belief results in a culture of blame, shame, and most of all silence.

It is our ethical and moral obligation to create a communication culture where we can say everything that is on our minds at all times. Here are some steps you can take to become more comfortable and more adept at confronting other people:

1. Think of a conversation that you want to have at your workplace—the one you’ve been putting off. Imagine that someone has assured you that it will turn out okay.
2. Who do you need to talk to? What about?
3. Now, rate how painful it will be for you to have this conversation on the pain scale of 1-10. Pick the very first number that comes to your mind.
4. Stop for a moment and identify the reason that you are not engaging in this particular conversation.

Only when nurses summon the courage and develop the skill set to start taking conversational risks will the image of nursing change. First, we elevate ourselves in each other’s eyes, and then in the public’s eyes. What is required is to be yourself (flaws and all) while holding yourself and others accountable.

Do you dread confronting people at your facility?

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Filed Under: Image of nursing


About the Author: This post was compiled by members of the Strategies for Nurse Managers staff.

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  1. Communication with your nursing peer is extremely important when ineffective nursing care is noted. When we see that the appropriate care and
    attention is not being given to a patient, it is our responsibility to voice our concerns. When things go wrong or when we make a mistake, as a
    partner-in-caring we must speak up. The way we communicate the issue is of significance. Whether you make a mistake or if you notice a mistake
    that your co-worker has made, we must show that we are all human and it is possible. When we make the mistake, we should admit is to ourselves
    and take action to correct it or if we see that others have made a mistake, we should kindly and professionally bring it to their attention. Assisting
    them in corrective action is not a bad idea either. Admitting the mistake and taking action to immediately correct it provides the best patient care.

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