Professional Communication

Jennifer Lapum; Oona St-Amant; Michelle Hughes; and Joy Garmaise-Yee

Professional communication is an important part of becoming a nurse and being a nursing student. You are entering a “profession” which means there are certain expectations in terms of your professional conduct specifically in terms of how you communicate.

Professional communication involves a level of formality and is an important component of your post-secondary nursing education. It is different than the informal communication that you may engage in with your friends and family. It also applies to your verbal and written communication including emails.

The principles of professional communication include being truthful, accurate, clear, and both concise and comprehensive. For example, you should say or write something in a succinct and short way while also including all relevant information. You should also have a professional tone that is conveyed through appropriate greetings, complete sentences, and grammar. In order to be professional, you need to know your audience; both the content and form of your message should be tailored to your audience.

Here are some tips to follow in terms of professional communication:

  • Introduce yourself fully by name and role/institution, such as: “I am Mateo Reyes, a year one nursing student from Ryerson University.”
  • Address the person you are speaking to formally. Also, do not assume the gender of the person you are speaking to. For example, you should avoid using terms such as “miss,” “ma’am,” “sir,” “mister,” “ms,” etc., until you know how the recipient wants to be addressed. If you are uncertain, introduce yourself fully and ask how the recipient would like to be addressed.
  • Clearly articulate your message (what you are trying to say).
  • Speak in full sentences.
  • Be honest.
  • Be polite. Your communication is a reflection of YOU and your professionalism.


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Professional Communication Copyright © 2021 by Jennifer Lapum; Oona St-Amant; Michelle Hughes; and Joy Garmaise-Yee is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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