Thursday, January 17, 2013

Medical Communication

We spent our lab today discussing the role of communication and various strategies to effectively use communication in the medical field.  I happen to have a Master of Arts degree in communication, and spent my first career in communication, so today's lab was not the most informative to me.

That's not to say that I'm the expert and know everything there is to comms.  I'd never say something like that.  I'm always learning.

So even though today's lab wasn't exactly new to me, it did get me thinking about the differences in communication styles and uses.  Medical communication is different from my experience in governmental and diplomatic communication.  It will depend on the type of nursing I eventually end up doing, and the comms skills will be very different depending on the situation.  In trauma/emerg, you'd be most interested in getting the basic, key bits of information that are critical to the patient's condition.  While working as a nurse in an area where a longer-term relationship is forged with the patient, the communications approach would be very different.

The key point to remember, I concluded, whether working as a nurse or a diplomat, is to be an effective communicator, one must always be ready for any situation, be able to think on one's feet (think quickly!) and to "trust the gut" -- trust yourself that you are able to handle the situation presented to you, and in your abilities to ask the right questions, the right way and to project the appropriate body language.

Effective communication comes from experience...and that I have loads of!  Effective communication skills will definitely be a key "transferable" skill that I will bring to my nursing career, from my first career.

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