Communication is one of the most pivotal competencies a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) should have in order to complete various projects effectively and advance nursing practice. DNPs collaborate with colleagues at different levels, implement studies, and disseminate information, which makes verbal, non-verbal, and written communication skills essential for these professionals (Hyde, 2018). Some of the most challenging areas related to interprofessional communication in health care include conflict management, cultural differences, insufficient understanding of roles, and the lack of specific technical skills (this barrier is specifically relevant for data dissemination) (Pagano, 2016). This paper includes a brief analysis of some of the most significant barriers to effective communication and best practices associated with verbal, non-verbal, and written communication that is utilized by doctorally prepared nurses.
Verbal Communication Competencies and the Practice Scholar
Verbal communication is often regarded as the basis of professional communication as people share information with the help the language used by the stakeholders. Clarity is one of the major priorities and factors contributing to effective communication at the highest professional level in the healthcare setting (Purnell, 2018). One of the barriers to interprofessional communication can be the use of jargon, some idiomatic expressions, or terms that are typical of one field (for instance, nursing) but can have a different meaning for other practitioners (for example, physicians or administrators). The effectiveness of intra-professional verbal communication can be hindered by the use of an inappropriate degree of formality. Cultural and linguistic differences can also become an obstacle to effective professional communication in some cases. Although English is used as the language of professional communication in U.S. health care, as well as many other countries and in the international arena, people may use different dialects, which can lead to some misunderstanding. For example, an American nurse and an Australian nursing practitioner speak English, but their vocabularies will have certain differences that have to be considered by both parties.
In order to address the challenges mentioned above, it is essential to focus on clarity as to the highest priority. It is necessary to learn about colleagues’ cultural backgrounds and learn about some peculiarities of the dialect that can be used (Pacquiao, 2018b). Doctorally prepared nurses to have to make sure they understand the assigned roles as well (Purnell, 2018). The incorrect understanding of responsibilities can make people choose the wrong behavioral pattern. Verbal communication often seems explicit, especially when compared to non-verbal cues, but it can still be associated with multiple meanings. DNPs should avoid using jargon or specific expressions that can be unknown to other professionals when working in interdisciplinary teams. The use of idiomatic expressions can also lead to a misunderstanding that can hinder effective collaboration within teams. Asking colleagues to clarify some points and paraphrasing their statements can allow DNPs to make their communication effective.
Non-Verbal Communication Competencies and the Practice Scholar
Non-verbal communication is an integral part of interaction as it enables people to add more meaning, express attitudes, and build rapport. According to different estimates, from 66% to as much as 93% of meaning is derived from non-verbal messages (Burgoon, Guerrero, & Floyd, 2016). People’s facial expressions, posture, movements, voice, distancing, and even voice provide additional information and shades of meaning that sometimes play an important role in communication. For example, emotional intelligence, which is relevant to leaders in all spheres, is one of the skills associated with the ability to interpret non-verbal cues (Burgoon et al., 2016). Again, cultural peculiarities play a central role in people’s communication when it comes to non-verbal cues. Body movements or postures often have dissimilar or even opposite meanings in different cultures. Professionals’ inability to interpret these clues accurately can have adverse effects on the implementation of their projects. Therefore, DPNs should understand the value of non-verbal communication and be aware of the essentials of this type of human interaction.
In order to understand non-verbal messages, doctorally prepared nurses should continuously learn about the peculiarities of non-verbal communication, as well as cultural aspects related to the matter. Self-awareness is also one of the techniques to use when exploring non-verbal communication (Pacquiao, 2018a). The identification of one’s cues can help in detecting non-verbal messages when communicating with others. Being attentive to non-verbal signals can help in building emotional intelligence as these cues are instrumental in interpreting people’s attitudes and emotional states. Verbal communication is associated with the focus on the exact meaning of the message, while non-verbal messages can explain behaviors and reveal other people’s perspectives. Effective leaders should deal with other team members’ feelings properly to ensure the completion of projects. Emotional intelligence skills are necessary for managing conflict situations as emotions are central to such instances. Nursing research is associated with collaboration with many professionals, which makes both verbal and non-verbal communication equally important. Asking for explanations and explaining one’s own non-verbal cues may be employed as DNPs will ensure clarity and expand their knowledge of non-verbal signals.
Written Communication Competencies and the Practice Scholar
The dissemination of relevant information is key to the advancement of nursing practice. Hence, another type of communication involved in professional nursing practice is written communication which allows nursing practitioners to articulate messages that can reach a broad audience (Hyde, 2018). Doctorally prepared nurses to have the necessary skills to produce diverse types of written works, including memos, reports, research articles, to name a few. When working on any written message, it is critical to follow certain standards that bring clarity. As mentioned above, clarity is one of the priorities in nursing practice as it allows healthcare professionals to perform their tasks more effectively and contribute to the development of the American healthcare system.
Some of the primary aspects of different types of written communication include appropriate language, relevant content, correct format, and logical cohesion. When disseminating information, one of the most important facets of effective communication is the choice of the right degree of formality, vocabulary, and visual cues (Hyde, 2018). Similar to verbal communication, written messages should be appropriate for the target audience. The use of terms or some expressions should be well-thought and justified. In writing, all terms are explained in the paper, which makes this type of communication effective. As mentioned above, visual elements are important for any written work as they help readers to understand the content of the work and grasp the essential details. The utilization of tables and graphs makes written messages more understandable.
For instance, such short pieces as memos need to deliver many details within a limited number of pages (and even words), so the nurse practitioner has to choose every word to convey the necessary meaning. Reports also have some peculiarities as DNPs have to focus on the most relevant data and follow the established format (Hyde, 2018). Although some people claim that format requirements are meaningless barriers and a waste of time, these standards are instrumental in communicating the most important things in a clear and concise way. Doctorally prepared nurses are also aware of the diverse facets of completing studies and writing articles or other scholarly works. Although DNPs have sufficient skills they acquire during studies, lifelong learning is often necessary to have up-to-date information. Reading available literature regarding certain health-related spheres makes DNPs more knowledgeable as to the advances in the field and standards accepted among professionals.
To sum up, the knowledge of verbal, non-verbal, as well as written, communication peculiarities makes DNPs able to respond to the challenges of modern society and advance nursing practice, as well as the entire American healthcare system. DNPs have to collaborate with different professionals in interdisciplinary teams, which tends to make communication complicated. Doctorally prepared nurses should pay attention to such characteristics as the degree of formality, the use of language (terms, jargon, dialects, expressions), and cultural peculiarities. The latter is specifically crucial for non-verbal communication, so DNPs should learn about different nations’ non-verbal cues in order to avoid any misunderstanding. Written communication has its specific features, such as standards and formats, as well as linguistic points. Nursing leaders should follow the established rules and standards that ensure the clarity of disseminated information. DNPs should continuously improve their skills in all three types of communication, in order to be effective leaders and scholars who contribute to the advancement of health care.
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