arrow_up-blue blog branches consultations events facebook-icon facebook-icon2 factsheet forum-icon forum hands key link location lock mail measure menu_plus news pdf pdf2 phone policies publications related search share subjectguide twitter-icon word youtube-icon
#RCN100 Celebrating 100 years of the Royal College of Nursing
Communication and empathy

Communication and empathy

Many submissions to our “100 Top Tips” project for health care support workers focused on communicating effectively with both patients and colleagues, and putting yourself in another person’s shoes.

Communication and empathy star tip

Star tip:

There's never too little time to care – hold a hand or lend an ear. It's the little things that count and it's what the patient remembers most. 

Communication and empathy

Communication and empathy

Imagine

When working alongside an older person, I always imagine that they are me in the future. This teaches me to be respectful and have compassion for their vulnerability, but it also allows me to enjoy the wisdom and guidance they bestow upon me on a daily basis.

Communication and empathy

Respect

Always communicate with someone quietly and with respect. Remember – raising your voice lowers their privacy and dignity.

Communication and empathy

Listen

Always listen (with both ears) to what your patients are saying, or not saying in some cases. Often they may just want reassurance about something that they are worried about.

Communication and empathy

Ask

Make sure you approach your patients in the right way – for example, ask them what they would like to be called and communicate with them throughout the task.

Communication and empathy

Learn

Embrace and learn about the multicultural diversity of fellow colleagues to help build positive teamwork.

Communication and empathy

Keep in touch

Keep in touch with other HCSWs by Facebook, through the RCN, etc., but always be mindful of the policies and procedures of the specific organisation you work for.

Communication and empathy

Empathise

Ask yourself: "How would I feel if it was me?"

Communication and empathy

Compassion

Good compassionate care is always person-centred. Good person-centred care should always demonstrate compassion.

Communication and empathy

Take a seat

When talking to patients, sit beside them (on a chair) and maintain eye contact. This shows you are actively listening.