The How, What, Why, and Wherefore of Communication, When the Stakes are High

As evidence based clinicians, we BOTH clarify best practice and preparedness recommendations by transmitting knowledge and information to one another, AND we relate to one another as human beings around the world in the context of relationships, families, organizations, and nations.

We share information such as that found at:

Each individual nurse when faced with a potential for harm, must assess risk. In this time of Ebola, it is absolutely imperative to get things right.  The ANA, AMA and AHA are collaborating for a solution-oriented, collaborative approach to safely provide high-quality, appropriate, patient care.

"While it is effectively impossible to create a risk free environment for nursing practice, the need to recognize, evaluate and efficiently minimize risk while recognizing the responsibility of our profession is an essential component of professional nursing practice. The nurse needs to base his or her assessment of risk on objective, current, and scientifically sound information. Identified risks should be communicated through the appropriate institutional channels so adequate safeguards can be initiated. It is incumbent upon the particular health care institution to provide adequate safeguards such as risk-reducing equipment, enforce protective procedures that minimize risk, educate staff concerning risks, and engage in research to identify actual and potential risks which impact nursing care. The ANA’s Bill of Rights for Registered Nurses states, nurses have the right to a work environment that is safe for themselves and their patients”

 The how, what, why, and wherefore of communication can either harm us or edify us.  As nurses, we check, challenge, test, seek the truth, adjust our ideas, thought processes, clarify our intentions, consciously observe our feelings, and face our opportunities for growth with honesty and courage.  From Florence Nightingale's perspective, nursing is the finest of the fine arts and the work of a nurse is that of a painter sculptor, disciplines requiring exclusive devotion and hard preparation and which incorporate a strong human aspect.  What we say, how we say it, and what we mean by it are extremely important, and can be life-changing. 

 Rosemarie Rizzo Parse’s human becoming theory specifies humans as indivisible, unpredictable, ever-changing beings who are free to choose meaning in situations and who co-create human universe with others, ideas, objects, and situations illimitably.  Health, from the human becoming perspective is a way of living value priorities. The nurse values the client as the co-creator of his/her own health. As nurses we are both becoming purposeful in our efforts to understand guidelines and ask important questions to optimize the care of the patient, caregiver and the community; and we are "purposeful becoming," as we advocate both for our local and global communities.


“Sometimes you have to step outside of the person you've been, and remember the person you were meant to be, the person you wanted to be, the person you are.” (HG Wells)