A crisis is defined as a time of intense difficulty, trouble or danger. This situation can come in the form of an important decision must be made in one’s health. Everyone deals with a crisis in a differently. In order to manage a crisis appropriately the proper communication must be used. Health care professionals need to learn how to effectively communicate in any type of crisis. Dynamics of communication used during a crisis can make a difference in how someone will react and respond to a high stress situation.
There are many ways to reduce stress during a crisis. Implementing a way to reduce stress can influence the outcome of the situation, or the people involved. Having a proactive approach to managing stress means there needs to be a solid, responsible leader. There also must be a plan, team support and goals to uphold. During a crisis it is important to take charge of the situation, recognize what is happening, and communicate effectively. This means monitoring our verbal and nonverbal communication. When we are conscious of our communication it can help decrease the stress during a crisis. The verbal communication should be congruent with our nonverbal communication (Managing Stress During a Crisis, 2014). Nurses should also remember not to overload clients with too much information. Short sentences that are direct and to the point are the best way to communicate during a crisis situation.
Resolution of Communication Issues
In times of crisis many communication challenges can arise. Resolving the challenges takes training, open communication and good listening skills. There is a need to work collaboratively and clarify the communication between all parties involved. Potential challenges can come from miscommunication and becoming defensive. It is possible that the person making the statement may have meant one thing and the person they are talking to understands it as something else. This can further complicate the crisis and create more challenge. Active listening skills, clarifying information and being aware of nonverbal communication are specific ways to avoid miscommunication. If the health care professional is not approachable, has poor verbal and nonverbal communication skills and appears defensive when spoken to, the communication challenges will continue or even become worse (Arnold & Boggs, 2011). It is essential to understand what it will take to resolve communication challenges or spot potential challenges.
Health Care Setting
Health care professionals find themselves in the line of crisis quite frequently. Sometimes it is something that we can predict. Other times the crisis happens upon us suddenly and without warning. In departments such as the Emergency Department (ED), crisis can generally be expected and the ED staff can safely believe that there will be a crisis during their shift. The outcome of the crisis can depend on how it is approached and dealt with. A patient’s rapid deterioration of their state of health or arrest in front of the family is a common crisis situation that occurs where I work. This puts the staff as well as the patient and patient’s family in crisis mode. I feel that my job as the patient’s nurse is to make sure that the situation flows as efficiently as possible. Crisis communication needs to be initiated immediately. My verbal and nonverbal communication can affect the situation. I also need to pick up on the verbal and nonverbal cues of the family.
It is also important to collaborate with the team, listen to both staff and families and communicate in a professional manor. Active listening is a prominent quality of a leader, along with how they lead the team. A positive approach is always best while maintaining clear and concise communication. There are times when it is necessary to use assertive communication. This is true when dealing with a difficult person, staff or family member. The nurse needs to be a leader, professional and assertive in order to work with these types of individuals in crisis situations. When approaching a patient, family member or staff, it is important to remember that how the crisis is handled can make the situation better or worse. Knowing how to manage crisis can be one of the most beneficial aspects. This knowledge comes through furthering your education, experience on the floor, planning and the art of active listening.
Every nurse should expect to be put in a crisis situation sometime in their career. It is in the nature of the situations that we handle in our profession. How these crisis situations are managed can determine a good or bad outcome for the patient and the patient’s family. Dealing with any crisis can be challenging but achievement is possible. The nurse should be an active listener, solid leader, and continually work on his or her communication skills. These qualities lead all those involved down the path to successful management of the situation and the best outcome or resolution of the crisis.
Arnold, E., & Boggs, K. (2011). Interpersonal relationships: Professional communication
skills for nurses (6th ed.). Retrieved from The University of Phoenix eBook
Managing Stress During a Crisis. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.osha.gov/crisis