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Nonverbal Communication

As a nursing assistant, it is important that you practice good communication with your patients. But sometimes the communication will not be with words. Nonverbal communication is what your gestures, posture, and facial expressions communicate.

When you look your patients in the eye, you show you are interested and listening. Don’t stand over your patient. Stand or sit at eye level. Make eye contact. As you listen, nod your head to show you’re paying attention. Smile.

When you walk into patients’ rooms, greet them by walking toward wherever they are. Look at them. Stand straight up and hold the palms of your hands face up. If you keep your hands by your side and palms down, you send a message that you are in control and commanding.

Your face can say many things you aren’t aware of. Yawning or rolling your eyes can communicate that you don’t want to talk to the patient or you don’t have time. Making strange expressions with your face can also miscommunicate your message. Your tone of voice is also important. You may be saying the right things, but you might be sounding impatient or irritated.

If your patients don’t feel like they can talk to you, they won’t. You might end up not knowing something that your patient needs you to know. Practicing your nonverbal communication skills can help you and your patients.

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© 2015 by Southwest Adult Basic Education

Project made financially possible through grants from:

Southwest Initiative Foundation, Marshall Community Foundation, Southwest Regional Transition Partners, Southwest Adult Basic Education, Marshall Healthcare Partners