How Communication Skills Can Help Prevent Issues for NPs

Nurse practitioners (NP) face many challenges in their position, many of which stem from miscommunication. Below, we’ll explain how effective communication skills can help NPs prevent issues and discuss some of the greatest communication challenges NPs face.

Why Communication Is Important for Nurse Practitioners

NPs have many responsibilities, from recording a patient’s medical history to ordering lab tests and developing treatment plans. But at the heart of all an NP’s responsibilities is effective communication, both between the NP and patient or NP and other staff.

If communication in any of these relationships’ falters, the NP can’t fulfill their responsibilities to the best of their abilities, and issues arise. That’s why written, verbal, and nonverbal communication are all vital skills that NPs need to succeed.

Issues That Stem From NP Miscommunication

If an NP doesn’t communicate properly with a patient or fellow staff, many issues can arise. If the NP doesn’t have quality communication skills, a patient may not reveal their entire medical history out of embarrassment or anxiety, causing vital information to go undocumented and putting the patient at risk. Even something as simple as filling out a lab test order requires written communication skills.
If there’s ambiguity or confusion, it can cause delays and inefficiency.

Even the slightest delays in healthcare can have severe consequences, so NPs need strong communication skills to prevent these issues. And if the patient suffers due to an NP miscommunication, they can seek damages in the form of a malpractice lawsuit, which is why NP malpractice insurance is also vital.

Communication Challenges That NPs Face

Unfortunately, the healthcare field is rife with challenges to effective communication for NPs. Some of the most difficult challenges are the lack of time and information overload.

Time Crunch

As we discussed, NPs have many responsibilities, and many of these responsibilities are time-sensitive. With a nationwide shortage of nurses, NPs are taking on even more responsibilities and patients with fewer resources, so time efficiency is critical.

With so much to do and so little time, it’s easy to rush communication and for things to get lost in translation. Communication is critical to an NP fulfilling their responsibilities, even if it takes longer than they want.

Information Overload

Another consequence of NPs having so many responsibilities is that it can feel like they’re being overloaded with information. Information overload is a significant problem, especially for those treating many patients, as it’s easy for details to fall through the cracks or get lost in the avalanche of data and info.

The more information you throw at a person, the more likely it is they will forget something. This is why written communication and documentation are so crucial for NPs.

We hope our explainer has enlightened you about the communication challenges NPs face in their field. If you’re an NP that needs malpractice insurance, contact our staff to learn more about Baxter & Associates today.