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Week 7: Communication

Within the high-stakes environment of health care, nurse leaders are responsible for promoting patient safety and other essential outcomes via productive communication. Yet, engaging in effective communication can be more challenging than expected at times. What barriers may inhibit or complicate communication in the workplace?

As you strengthen your presence as a savvy nurse leader, it is helpful to examine communication challenges and to explore approaches and circumstances that encourage productive communication. This week you examine opportunities and challenges related to communication.

Learning Objectives

Students will:
  • Evaluate the elements of the communication process
  • Evaluate strategies for overcoming barriers in the communication process

Photo Credit: Ariel Skelley/Blend Images/Getty Images


Learning Resources

Note: To access this week’s required library resources, please click on the link to the Course Readings List, found in the
Course Materials section of your Syllabus.

Required Readings

Marquis, B. L., & Huston, C. J. (2017).
Leadership roles and management functions in nursing: Theory and application (9th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.

  • Review Chapter 19, “Organizational, Interpersonal, and Group Communication”

Gifu, D., Dima, I. C., & Teodorescu, M. (2014). New communication approaches vs. traditional communication.
International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences, (20), 46–55.

Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

The study highlights some communication instances of actual approach of human society evolution in contrast with traditional communication.

Johansson, C., Miller, V. D., Hamrin, S. (2014). Conceptualizing communicative leadership: A framework for analyzing and developing leaders’ communication competence,
Corporate Communications: An International Journal, 19 (2), 147–165.

Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

Manojlovich, M., Harrod, M., Holtz, B., Hofer, T., Kuhn, L., & Krein, S. L. (2015). The Use of Multiple Qualitative Methods to Characterize Communication Events Between Physicians and Nurses.
Health communication, 30(1), 61–69.

Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

The purpose of this study was to develop a methodology for identifying and characterizing communication events between physicians and nurses to better understand communication patterns on general medical–surgical units.

Seyranian, V. (2014). Social Identity Framing communication strategies for mobilizing social change.
The Leadership Quarterly,
25(3), 468-486.

Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

Van Keer, R. V., Deschepper, R. D., Huyghens, L. H., Distelmans, W. D., & Bilsen, J. B. (2014). Dealing with cultural diversity during the process of communication and decision-making in the ICU: a literature review.
Critical Care,
18(Suppl 1), P24. doi:10.1186/cc13214

Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.


Discussion: Addressing Barriers to
Effective Communication

From moment to moment, a nurse leader’s day involves communication—with patients, families, colleagues, supervisors, and so on.

Think of a particular day you spent working in a health care environment, and consider three or four distinct points in time. For each point of time, consider the following: With whom did you interact? Which forms of communication did you use? What issues were communicated about—did they seem to be light-hearted or sensitive? Straightforward or complicated? How would you describe the pace of the interactions and your work?

As you consider these questions, it becomes clear that communication can be quite complex, with many layers of meaning that shape the experience for everyone involved. How could this awareness help you to understand instances of ineffective communication when they arise?

To prepare:

  • Review the information in Chapter 19 of the course text, as well as the assigned articles.
  • Reflect on an incident involving ineffective communication within your organization or another health care setting. Consider this incident through the lens of the communication process outlined in Figure 19.1 of the course text.
  • What barriers contributed to this incident? What other challenges may have influenced this situation?
  • Using the information presented in the other Learning Resources, consider what could have been done to prevent or address the ineffective communication. Why do you think the use of these strategies would have resulted in better outcome(s)?

By Day 3

Post a summary of an incident involving ineffective communication. Describe communication barriers and other challenges that contributed to the incident. Propose one or more strategies that could have been employed to promote a better outcome. Be sure to refer to elements of the communication process.

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