Communication Problems at Clinical


Hello all,

I'm in my second year of nursing school, and hope to graduate with my RN next May.

One of my biggest issues is communication, especially at clinical. During each clinical, I have needed to tell my instructor/fellow student/nurse about something important pertaining to my patients. Many times, I will approach my instructor, nurse, or whomever, and they will be busy talking to another nurse, another student, etc. They don't even acknowledge my presence, but they continue to talk to each other, and many times, it's gossiping or something unrelated to nursing. I hate interrupting people, but I feel it's very rude when when I make my presence known, with something important to say about my patient/a question to ask, but my instructors/nurses won't even acknowledge my presence most of the time when they're talking amongst each other. I understand if they're discussing something important pertaining to nursing, but many times, they're discussing where they went for dinner the other night. Do I continue to just stand there for 5-10 minutes while they're talking amongst themselves, or do I just become ruthless and interrupt them? I have tried the interruption thing, but many times, my nurses and instructors will just brush me off and continue with their gossiping. I just don't know if it's something that I'm doing wrong or what the deal is?


31 Posts

No you cut in and say "I'm sorry to interrupt I just needed to tell you about the pt in room whatever real quick". Don't let your patients suffer for their ignorance.

Specializes in Critical Care, Education. Has 35 years experience.

This would also be a great time to learn how to increase the effectiveness of your communication using the SBAR (Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation) technique. It is applicable because I imagine that you need to obtain some type of 'action' from your instructor.... that's why you need to talk to her/him. You can search here on AN to find other threads on SBAR. Here is some information and resources from IHI.

Specializes in Prior military RN/current ICU RN.. Has 16 years experience.

I agree...LEARN from it. You will have nurses and docs in hospitals you will need to politely interupt at times to ensure patient care. Be polite always..but be firm and get to the point. Have the data you need to provide. (VS, acute changes, etc"


327 Posts

Do not sit and wait. As long as your polite it is not rude to say, "excuse me I need to speak with you about a patient".

psu_213, BSN, RN

3,878 Posts

Specializes in Emergency, Telemetry, Transplant. Has 14 years experience.

"I'm sorry to interrupt but Mr. Jones in room 415 reports that he is having increased pain near his surgical incision…."

There is a lot to learn in nursing school. One of those things is how to deal with real life situations. When you are a nurse, you will find the doctor (nurse, etc.) with whom you need to speak talking about dinner plans with another staff member. You need to learn how to politely interrupt and succulently pass on a message. As someone else said, use SBAR.

Specializes in ICU.

I always just say excuse me I don't mean to interrupt but so and so needs this or whatever. If you just stand there, they may think you have nothing to do and are just listening to the conversation. You need to be a little more confident.

Has 12 years experience.

If the person you need to talk to is not discussing school or patient case, just say, "Excuse me for interrupting but I need to discuss x,y,z with you." Don't be afraid, just say it professionally. Trust me its not going to change once you have a license, you need to learn this skill now.