5 Communication (Personal and Professional)



Communication comes in all sizes.  It is primarily written or spoken.  The information delivered can be formal or condensed into acronyms (jargon or as used in social media) and data.  Communication can be audio, use sign language, or presented as video.  Culture and structures/systems play an important role in the sharing and understanding information.  In this lesson on communication students will explore communication best practices, barriers to effective communication, and communication tools used in healthcare as well as review therapeutic and non-therapeutic communication strategies.  This content offers a context for communication both personal/professional and interprofessional communication that are foundational to for all healthcare professionals.  That is, regardless of degree or program, Nurses, Physician Assistants, Respiratory Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Physicians, and Social Workers, Pharmacists, Emergency Medical Technicians, Athletic Trainers, and so on, are being taught similar content to ready them to become effective communicators.  For many students, this may be a review however, for some students they may appreciate a refresher and expansion on their competency in communication in the dyad of patient-healthcare profession.


For this lesson you will:

  1. Increase knowledge of how voice and body language components contribute to effective interprofessional communication.
  2. Embrace a willingness to critique your own communication weaknesses.
  3. Display the motivation to improve interprofessional communication skills.
  4. Choose effective communication tools or techniques to facilitate discussions and interactions to enhance team function.
  5. Express one’s knowledge and opinions to team members [as well as peers and faculty] with clarity and respect, working to ensure common understanding of information.
  6. Organize and communicate information with clients, families and health care team members in a form that is understandable, avoiding discipline-specific terminology (jargon) when possible.


IPEC Sub-Competencies – Interprofessional Communication
CC1 Choose effective communication tools and techniques, including information systems and communication technologies, to facilitate discussions and interactions that enhance team function.
CC2 Communicate information with patients, families, community members, and health team members in a form that is understandable, avoiding discipline-specific terminology when possible.
CC3 Express one’s own knowledge and opinions to team members involved in patient care and population health improvement with confidence, clarity, and respect, working to ensure common understanding of information, treatment, care decisions, and population health programs and policies.
CC4 Listen actively and encourage ideas and opinions of the other team members.


Communication: “The act or process of using words, sounds, signs, or behaviors to express information or to express your ideas, thoughts, feelings, etc., to someone else.”  (Merriam-Webster, n.d.).

Professional Communication: “…is important in establishing trustworthiness and competence” (Potter et. al., 2021, p. 330).  Professional communication includes 1) appearance, demeanor, and behavior; 2) speaking in a clear and effective voice; 3) appropriate grammar; 4) active listening; 5) timely, well-organized, and offers clear, concise, comprehensive information.

Interprofessional Communication: “Communicate with patients, families, communities, and professionals in health and other fields in a responsive and responsible manner that supports a team approach to the promotion and maintenance of health and the prevention and treatment of disease” (IPEC, 2016, p. 10).


  • The following sources with study guides have been curated for student learning.
  • For application and demonstration of learning, lab exercises can be found in the second half of this online education resource, Lab Exercises.

READ:  Interprofessional communication

Study Guide: These authors describe the basis of medical errors in terms of communication.  Although this article is written for pharmacists, the authors outline common barriers to interprofessional communication and collaboration regardless of discipline.  Although they visually present a theoretical model of a collaborative relationship between physician and pharmacist, his can be generalized to apply to other dyads of healthcare professionals.  Also, they describes different types of non-verbal communication.

REFERENCE:  Woods, J.A., Jackson, D.J., Ziglar, S., & Alston, G.L. (2011). Interprofessional communication. Drug Topics, 155(8), 42-53.


REVIEW:  The importance of effective communication


Study Guide: This source is included for the figure is that offers a framework for discussing 10 communication skills important for providing care as a nurse.  Although this content may seem to apply to nursing alone, it also applies to best practices of everyone in healthcare professional regardless of discipline.  These communication skills include Verbal Communication, Nonverbal Communication, Active Listening, Written Communication, Presentation Skills, Patient Education, Making Personal Connections, Trust, Cultural Awareness, and Compassion.


REFERENCE:  University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences. (2020, February).  The importance of effective communication in nursing.


Interprofessional Education Collaborative. (2016).  Core competencies for interprofessional collaborative practice:   2016 update.  Washington, DC:  Interprofessional Education Collaborative

Merriam-Webster. (n.d.).  Communication.  In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary.  Retrieved November 5, 2022, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/communication

Potter, P. A., Perry, A. G., Stockert, P. A., & Hall, A. M. (2022).  Fundamentals of Nursing (11th ed).  Elsevier.  ISBN:  9780323810340




Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Interprofessional Education Lab Manual And Workbook Copyright © by Geraldine Terry is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book