Four Points to Remember
Noticing changes in a resident's condition is important,
but by itself, it is not enough to ensure resident safety
and well-being. Changes must be detected early and
communicated promptly across the multidisciplinary team
and within the nursing team.
A safe environment is based on good communication.
Everyone is responsible for speaking up about safety concerns
and changes in a resident's condition, and everyone's input
should be welcome. In a safe environment, no one is trying to
place blame; rather, everyone is working to determine what is
best for the resident and the institution.
Communication skills can be learned. These include
preparing to communicate, presenting information, and
getting feedback. All team members must listen carefully
when a message is being presented, respond to it, and follow up.
We all face barriers to communication. In a health care setting, differences
in level of authority and environmental or system barriers are often the hardest
to get past. However, good communication between team members who have
different roles, such as nursing assistants and licensed nurses, is essential to good
outcomes for residents.
We can improve our reporting on changes in a resident's condition by using
one of several tools, such as the SBAR technique, which helps structure
- Noticing changes in a resident's condition is important, but it is not enough to ensure resident safety and well-being.
- Changes must be detected early and communicated promptly.
- A safe environment is based on good communication.
- Everyone is responsible for speaking up.
- Communication skills can be learned.
- We all face barriers to communication.
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Pearls and Pitfalls
- Caring means communicating.
- Communication happens in many directions and among many other disciplines.
- Communicating effectively means speaking up in a way that will be "heard" and listening for feedback.
- Effective communication means speaking and listening.
- We often face barriers to communication, and frequently there are multiple barriers at the same time.
- Communication tools like SBAR and CUS help us structure our communications.
- Assuming that someone knows what is happening just because they have a higher position is often incorrect.
- Saying something does not mean you have been heard, so assuming that you have been heard can be a mistake.
- Assuming that someone from a different culture who speaks your language understands you may not be correct.
- Forgetting to listen can be as much of a problem as not speaking up.
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