Communication is an essential topic for nursing assistants due to the patients, coworkers, family members and visitors with whom they must interact on a regular basis. Since nursing assistants and professional caregivers interact with others routinely, their ability to communicate must be competent. Communication, defined as the process of exchanging information with other persons, includes the act of conveying messages as well as the receipt of them (Fuzy, 2003). People communicate by sending and receiving messages, either verbally or through nonverbal means.
Verbal communication entails the use of sounds, words and language to convey messages (Hanes, 2018). Shouting, whispering and speaking in a conversational tone are all forms of verbal communication. A human resources manager that asks a job-seeking candidate interview questions is considered to be verbally communicating. A phone conversation is also considered a type of verbal communication. Additionally, a face-to-face chat between a home health aide and a client would fall under the realm of verbal communication.
On the other hand, nonverbal communication does not rely on the use of words or language to get the message across. Examples of nonverbal forms of communication include rolling one's eyes, frowning, smiling, pointing at an object, grimacing, making hand gestures, or nodding to convey messages to others. Problems might arise if a nursing assistant's nonverbal communication is not consistent with her verbal words because the intent of the spoken message can be changed dramatically.
For example, a nursing assistant can utilize a joyful tone of voice to announce, "I am happy!" However, her sad facial expression (nonverbal communication) has changed the intent of her spoken words (verbal communication) due to the inconsistency between the two messages. Observant people will take note of the inconsistency between the nursing assistant's verbal and nonverbal communication and wonder if she truly is as happy as she claims to be. After all, her sad facial expression communicates an entirely different message than the one that she is verbally conveying.
Nursing assistants and caregivers must be able to communicate in a competent, effective manner to manage various situations that arise. They must be able to effectually present information such as vital signs, changes in clients' conditions, and other pertinent data to coworkers and supervisors as needed. They must be able to communicate with patients and clients regarding their needs and desires. In essence, effective communication skills are the cornerstone of a successful career in the healthcare field.