Career Pathways & Education

How to Win Friends & Influence Nurse Leaders

The Trusted Team
April 6, 2021
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Clear, purposeful communication is what separates a good but frustrated nurse from a great and fulfilled nurse. 

Our recent event with Dr. Lori Armstrong, CEO & Chief Clinical Officer at Drexel University’s College of Nursing, spoke about how nurses can best communicate with nurse leaders to effectively impact change and advocate for themselves and their patients. 

If you’re feeling frustrated, confused, or defeated with leadership or management, this resource is for you. These communication techniques will instill positivity and confidence in any nurse — whether new to the bedside or a seasoned veteran.

There’s never been a more important time to communicate your needs and advocate for positive change — nurses have the stage, the spotlight, and the power. Let’s make the most of it for better outcomes and a healthy work environment.

The Art of Communication

When it comes to risky, controversial, and emotional conversations, skilled people find a way to get all relevant information (from themselves and others) out into the open.

That’s it. At the core of every successful conversation lies the free flow of relevant information. People openly and honestly express their opinions, share their feelings, and articulate their theories. They willingly and capably share their views, even when their ideas are controversial or unpopular.

Four things to keep in mind:

  1. Find a way to get relevant information out into the open
  2. Be open and honest
  3. Willingly share their views, even when controversial
  4. Dialogue is between two or more people

Communication Conditions

There’s always a context within which you’re communicating; know what it is!

The Seven “Cs” of Communication

Regardless of whom you’re communicating with, you should keep these seven tenets in mind:

  1. Clear – Easily understandable
  2. Concise – Brief but comprehensive
  3. Concrete – Specific and definite
  4. Correct – True and fact-based
  5. Coherent – Logical and consistent with bigger picture
  6. Complete – Includes all necessary pieces of information
  7. Courteous – Polite, respectful and considerate

Trust and Communication

We are all required by our licenses to deliver and practice evidence based nursing care. Evidence and science is important. So, what does the science say about trust? 

Trusting environments are no longer optional for organizations. It’s not an option in the unit you work. It is not a shiny new object. It's been there this whole time. Or, more importantly, maybe it's been missing.

If you want a great unit, a great organization that builds and contributes to a culture of trust is not optional. You want to attract and retain and work with the best people and achieve top results. Trust is such a key component and, in fact, a critical success factor in any work environment.

When does trust matter?

  • Medical Errors
  • Readmissions
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Reduce Stress
  • Promote Wellness
  • Morale
  • Valued
  • Feeling like I make a difference
  • Turnover Rates

Venting: Is It Helpful or Hurtful?

It’s going to happen sooner or later: The stresses and annoyances of work will build up inside you to the point that you just can’t hold it in any longer, so you erupt in a string of complaints to any co-worker who will listen.

Venting is common. In fact, in the typical workplace, it’s almost inevitable. Frustrations happen, and venting is an easy way to blow off steam. But just because it happens doesn’t mean it’s necessarily ok. 

Constantly venting can spread negativity and bring your colleagues down—not to mention that it can be disruptive and annoying to the rest of your team. So ,if it’s going to happen, make it happen the right way. 

Here’s how to vent properly:

  • Take a time out
  • Write it down
  • Balance the negative and the positive
  • Remember the 7 Cs

Starting Crucial Conversations 

Before starting a crucial conversation, ask yourself a few questions to help frame the conversation:

  1. What is the issue that needs to be addressed?
  2. What are the facts of the situation?
  3. What does resolution look like?
  4. How might your supervisor react?

And remember, once you have at least a partial answer to these questions, make sure you return to the Seven Cs to help frame your conversation.

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