Career Goals: Improving Communication Skills as a CNA

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People with excellent communication skills fare better in life. Do you agree? Somehow, they seem friendlier and more likable. Also, they tend to get what they want. Has there ever been a time you and a colleague wanted the same thing from HR, and they got it but you didn't?

It may not have occurred to you, but it could have a lot to do with how they communicated their need, or expressed themselves, so that they were clearly understood. It might also be the manner by which they talked to management. It is likely they were able to say the right words at the right time. And skills like that can work like magic.

In healthcare, having excellent communication abilities is a must rather than just something nice to have. Patient care deals with human life—saving it or keeping it safe and healthy—so knowing how to reach out to people (whether patient or coworker) is something all nursing assistants must strive to improve.
If you want to do well in this career and make the most out of it, improve your communication skills.

Here’s how:

1. Be respectful and sincere.

Giving respect and being genuine are values that cannot be overemphasized in healthcare. Without these values, what would communication be like? Heartless, irritating, and, for the most part, untrusting. If you happen to be in a place where the culture of fear rules, do not take part in bullying. Instead, break the chains of abuse.

2. Practice therapeutic communication techniques.

These strategies are called “therapeutic” because they help build trust and open channels of conversations. It's a technique to get the patient to express themselves well.

The next thing for you to do is take these practices outside of work. Yes, even relationships at home and in your social network will benefit. Keep practicing until you're doing it on auto-pilot.

3. Keep communication two-way and closed-loop.

Half of communication is knowing how to receive information. This means being able to listen intently, understand what is being said, interpret body language, and seek clarification when needed. In healthcare, this other half is often left unaddressed, so be among those who fine-tune this skill.

4. Be aware of SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures).

As part of healthcare, your organization will have established patterns of how communication should take place. Patient safety huddles, handoffs, and transferring and moving patients are some examples of how these protocols work to ensure patient safety. Always remember to follow these standard operating procedures.

5. Jot it down.

If the information you’d like to share is complicated, make a note of keywords you'd like to discuss. This strategy will prevent you from getting lost when your mind is racing and your mouth can’t keep up. You’ll also be able to cover everything you want to say.

6. Practice self-control.

In the busy and complex world of patient care, there are times when people become irritable and lose their temper. Your best move here is to remain unaffected and keep yourself from being rude in return. A cool head will help you maintain your respect for others.

7. Do self-reflection.

Be your own judge when it comes to how you talk to other people. There can be no improvement when you are unaware of your own flaws and inadequacies. After evaluating yourself, work toward positive change.

8. Attend seminars on improving communication.

Yes, this is doing it by the book, with the help of experts who extend their support to help you make those improvements.

9. Decide to continue learning and improving.

When you are really bent on bettering your communication skills, your brain will continue to pick up information at opportune moments along the way to make this possible.

Being a CNA is a worthwhile career, not only because you get to care for others, but also because it can help you become a better person as a whole. So, if you’re thinking of which career goals you should work on, consider refining your communication skills!


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