It is really sad to listen to the stories I hear from some of my clients about communications in nursing. Nurses talk behind each other’s back, complain about each other and, sometimes, have no hesitation in putting down others, right in front of each other. It’s sort of like middle school. I know I used to be quiet and keep things in which really bothered me. Now my motto is if it crosses my mind, it crosses my lips if my comments can be a contribution to the other person. Remember you cant put toothpaste back in the tube so blurting things out when your emotionally charged does not help either.
What a difference it would be if nurses could communicate with each other using their GIFTS; giving to each other and talking in integrity.
Here is a system that helps me when I need to communicate with someone. If I am upset with a person, I try to talk with them within 24 hours or, at least, try to schedule a time to speak with them. I do not e-mail, I would rather speak to the person directory. I also don’t gossip and tell anyone else who cannot do anything about the situation.
I then facilitate the conversation by saying, “Here’s what I need support with,” or “Here’s what we can do to work together better,” or “Here’s how you can support me …” By starting with stating your needs makes for a less intimidating presentation to the other person.
When I get their response, I follow up with, “What I hear you saying …” or “I take responsibility for …”
And then I always end with, “Going forward, how can you count on me and how can I count on you?”
Making this agreement will help you to communicate better in the future and establish what you need from each other to have a healthy relationship.
Even though these strategies are good in the workplace, try them at home too. You will see a big difference when you communicate in a giving, authentic manner. I’ve tried it with my teens and it makes a BIG difference.