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Editorial

Good communication is essential to good care

Communication – with patients and colleagues – is a running theme in this month’s RCNi content  


Picture: iStock

Being able to communicate with others is an essential part of any nurse’s toolkit. But it’s not always easy to convey your message, whether that’s speaking to a colleague, writing a research paper, or presenting to a group of senior managers. And don’t even get me started on how best to communicate by email.

One of the themes in the December print issue of Nursing Standard is good communication at work. That could be about how best to communicate with your patients, or it could be how best to communicate with other staff.

Improving handover

Handover notes are one important example that feature in one of our articles this month. It’s essential to be clear in these, yet research shows you do them when you’re tired and want to get home. You’re stressed because you want to do the best by your patient, but you know you’ve a bus to catch or the kids to get off to swimming club.

The article outlines the problems around handover in community teams, from one district nurse to another. I’ve been visiting a few community nursing teams in my first few months as editor of Nursing Standard because I wanted to see what nursing was like outside hospital. I’ve been amazed by what I’ve seen.

But I’ve heard concerns about what happens when a patient is discharged from hospital, when patients’ notes on the hospital computer system often don’t speak to the community one.

And I’ve heard district nurses question why, when a patient is discharged, the ward staff request they do insulin injections, even though the patient previously did these themselves. Might a quick phone call have established whether or not a district nurse's involvement was necessary?

Award winners

If you’re interested in communicating what you do to a wider audience, what better way than to enter our annual awards?

You can read more about the impact it’s had on our 2018 winners. I’ve been to two awards ceremonies since I joined Nursing Standard and what wonderful events they are, not just on the night but for the impact they can have on nurses’ careers.

As they say, you’ve got to be in it to win it. So, what are you waiting for?


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