Principles of Effective Communication

Graphic of people using a variety of forms of communication
Image by Joseph Mucira from Pixabay

Communication serves two essential functions: 1) it is a way of transferring information, and 2) it conveys/transfers relational meaning. Nurse leaders, especially in the clinical setting, set the tone and influence others when it comes to communication; this includes communication with each other, with other members of the health care team and with patients and families. The impacts of effective communication on organizational efficiency and on job satisfaction are increasingly recognized (Jankelová & Joniaková, 2021; Tourish & Mulholland, 1997).


Nurse leaders who understand what effective communication is, can use that knowledge and their influence to enhance communication within their unit, department, and beyond. While effective communication can enhance communication across a unit, poor communication can compromise patient safety and result in health care errors and can lead to higher turnover in both nurses and other health care personnel.


Good communication is essential to achieving positive health outcomes for patients. It is the responsibility of front-line clinical leaders to ensure effective communication to ensure both patient safety and quality of care (Timmins, 2011); this includes both developing and maintaining the leader’s communication skills in the clinical setting.


Activity #1

Take some time (10 minutes) to watch this video.

Video: 7 Principles of Effective Leadership Communication Strategies (9:58)


These are the seven principles outlined in the video that you just watched.

Click on the blue buttons inside of the circles to read each explanation in more detail.


Activity #2

Read the following article and complete the short quiz before moving to the next section in this module.

de Vries, R.E., Bakker-Pieper, A., Oostenveld, W. (2010). Leadership = communication? The relations of leaders’ communication styles with leadership styles, knowledge sharing and leadership outcomes. Journal of Business and Psychology, 25, 367–380.



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Leadership for Nurses in Clinical Settings Copyright © 2022 by Dr. Kirsten Woodend, Dr. Catherine Thibeault, Dr. Manon Lemonde, Dr. Janet McCabe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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