I'm an RN with 32 years of experience in hospital nursing, but I learned the effects of poor communication during transfer of care for my mother (“Could Emotional Intelligence Make Patients Safer?,” July). During a transfer from inpatient care to rehab, her seizure meds were ordered at three times the correct dose. My repeated questioning of nursing staff as to why she was confused and paranoid resulted in defensiveness and shrugs. Only after she was readmitted to a different hospital, at my insistence, was the error found.
I agree with the authors that improved emotional intelligence skills can improve nurses’ performance and communication, as well as quality of care. I would suggest that these skills be utilized not only with staff members, but also when gathering information from patients and families. Having emotional intelligence means being able to facilitate reasoning, and that includes gathering information from all sources for improved patient care. Engaging patients and families during health care delivery is an important part of ensuring patient safety and of improving quality of care.1 Family members can be taxing, but their insights can offer information useful for adjusting patient care.
Diane Henry, BSN, RN, CMSRN
1. Bucknall TK, et al Engaging patients and families in communication across transitions of care: an integrative review protocol J Adv Nurs 2016 72 7 1689–700