Find out the vital communication skills needed by healthcare providers for effective communication.

4 vital communication skills in healthcare

Communication skills are important for the healthcare providers due to their interactions with patients and other medical staff. The healthcare providers have the task of obtaining information from patients by asking many questions and explaining to patients the diagnosis and course of action that should be taken for their well-being. They also deal with anxious patients, communicate with patient’s relatives, break bad news and seek consent for an invasive procedure. This makes it essential for the providers to have verbal, non-verbal and written communication skills.

Verbal communication skills

Healthcare providers should provide clear communication to patients when addressing issues such as explaining a diagnosis, providing instructions on the usage of medicine, communicating with anxious patients, communicating with relatives or giving advice on healthy living. This calls for clear communication using simple language that is easy to understand. If need be, speak slowly, rephrase what has been said and listen carefully. The healthcare providers should hone their verbal communication skills so that they can communicate effectively.


Healthcare providers should know how to study patient’s cues and body language to understand fully the message being put across. Identifying non-verbal communication in a patient, co-worker or relatives can help in understanding the situation better. The provider should also learn to send non-verbal cues that portray their interest in listening to patients. For instance, leaning more towards the speaker, nodding the head and uncrossing arms when listening indicates that you are attentive and actively listening to the person talking.

Listening skills  

Listening skills are vital for healthcare providers since they need to hear what the patients, their families, and team members are saying. Active listening entails focusing on the person who is talking and refraining from having thoughts of what to say next. It means being interested and curious about what the other person is saying, requesting for clarification on what you don’t understand and rephrasing to ensure you heard what was said correctly. Lack of listening skills can result in misunderstandings which can be fatal. For instance, poor listening can lead to the wrong diagnosis or a frustrated patient or family.

Written communication skills

Proper and professional writing is an essential skill in healthcare. Writing is needed in giving prescriptions, recording the medical history of patients and written documents such as insurance and consent forms. Documents such as employee service contracts, and supplier contracts are also used in the healthcare sector and they should be properly written.

The writing should not have grammar and spelling mistakes. It should be clear, legible and concise. For instance, an illegible handwriting on a prescription can result in administration of the wrong drugs, poorly written patient medical history can lead to misdiagnosis.

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