As a nursing manager, you need to foster strong communications between your nurses. But there is more to it, of course. Not only should your team be able to effectively communicate with one another, but they also need to communicate with every patient in their care. Can you build the confidence among your nursing team to be able to effectively communicate with individuals of all cultural backgrounds who need medical assistance? Here are a few things to keep in mind.
1. Provide language assistance for patients.
It’s important for your facility to make a commitment to providing access to care for all people. Providing language assistance for those who do not speak English, as well as American Sign Language for deaf and hard of hearing patients, can help foster a sense of trust in your facility and will encourage people to come to you for care.
2. Create a method to inform them of the assistance available.
Since the first line of communication is the nursing staff, they need to be able to communicate to the patients that language assistance is available. The most common is language identification cards indicating “I speak (language)” and this will also be kept on their medical records.
3. Ensure the ability of those acting as communication liaisons.
It’s also important that you can assure your patients that their medical interpretation will be performed by bilingual or multilingual medical staff, trained interpreters, or volunteers within the facility. Your team should also have access to the availability of these interpreters. The patient may prefer a family member translate, but keep in mind that minors should not be put in this position.
4. Provide material and signage in commonly used languages.
Verbal communication is only one step in the process. You will also need to make sure that signs around your facility can be read by the patients seeking care. While you may not be able to cover all possible situations, including signs in the most commonly spoken languages in your region is a good first step.
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