Improving Communication: Lessons learned from Day One

There were so many take-aways from Day One of my Telluride experience in Napa. We played a  Domino game that taught my team members and I so many lessons regarding communication that is applicable to the clinical setting. The importance of practicing mindfulness in communication was noted. One could miss an important piece of data especially in a busy healthcare environment. For example, a physician receiving a call from a nurse who is not mentally present and is considering other tasks to be done. Key information could be missed that would possibly support a change in a patient’s plan of care. With the occurrence of any event, as a leader/ administrator, you most likely do not know all the pieces and it is important to talk to all parties involved to capture as much data as possible about the event. Clear communication between nurses and physicians is vital to reduce risks of errors. Applying “Read back” to affirm that one has received the intended communication is very helpful to the communication process to ensure clarity.

Additionally, consider factors/ barriers to communication such culture/ diversity, hierarchy, status and apply strategies that foster clear communication such as standardizing the communication process using SBAR and TeamSTEPPS.