Development of communication skills in healthcare: Perspectives of new graduates of undergraduate nursing education

Lisa Kennedy Sheldon, Dany M. Hilaire


Background: Communication between healthcare providers and patients affects patient care and safety. Nurses develop communication skills at the undergraduate level, after graduation and throughout their practice. This study explored perspectives of new graduates on the development and implementation of communication skills within the first six months after graduation.

Methods: Descriptive study using an electronic survey to three cohorts of recent graduates. Surveys were sent within six months after graduation.

Results: A total of 700 surveys were sent to three cohorts of recent graduates with 206 surveys completed (response rates ranged from 26%-35%). Participants reported always feeling confident communicating with patients and families 27% of the time, and 23.5% of the time with interdisciplinary teams. Only 50.8% reported always feeling confident to provide safe care all of the time with 44.5% reported feeling always able to ask colleagues for help with challenging situations.

Conclusions: Undergraduate nursing programs should incorporate more didactic communication skills training and simulation to prepare nursing students and increase their confidence to provide safe care and consult with colleagues for help. Communication skills training in practice settings after graduation to increase skill development and confidence during independent clinical practice.


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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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