Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Interpersonal Skills Crucial to Nurse Retention and Cultural Competency

The following guest post from Enclara Pharmacia is adapted from their recent ebook, Cultivating Care: Prioritizing Hospice Nurse Learning and Development, which is available as a free download on the Enclara website. 

Two of the top priorities for hospice providers today are improving nurse retention and advancing health equity. While these are both complicated issues that call for a variety of interventions, there is at least one area where they intersect: interpersonal communication.

Perhaps because nursing is a “caring profession,” we tend to assume interpersonal communication comes naturally to nurses. However, research suggests that nurses are more or less in line with the general public when it comes to overall emotional intelligence, including social skills.

Hospice nurses are well aware that they have room for improvement. In a 2019 survey, 70 percent desired more communication training. Self-perceived deficits in navigating difficult topics with patients and caregivers were associated with stress and burnout, which can in turn increase staff turnover.

Interestingly, two of the communication areas palliative nurses find most difficult are directly related to cultural competency: talking with patients or families from different cultures and responding to spiritual concerns. This suggests that incorporating interpersonal communication training alongside diversity and inclusion initiatives can improve the nurse experience while also reducing disparities in care for minority communities with historically lower hospice participation.

For more insights, download Cultivating Care: Prioritizing Hospice Nurse Learning and Development.

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