GEN97 Communicate effectively in a healthcare environment


This standard is about communicating effectively with individuals in a healthcare environment. You will be expected to communicate effectively with a number of people in a variety of situations. You will be expected to use your initiative and follow organisational procedures in times of crisis.

Users of this standard will need to ensure that practice reflects up to date information and policies.

Version No 1

Knowledge and Understanding

You will need to know and understand:

  1. the importance of responding promptly and appropriately
  2. the importance of:
    1. focusing on the individual
    2. space and positioning when communicating
    3. body language and eye contact when communicating
    4. giving individuals sufficient time to communicate
    5. using the individual’s preferred means of communication and language
    6. checking that you and the individuals understand each other
    7. adapting your communications to aid understanding
    8. active listening
  3. the difficulties that can arise as a result of specific situations in your area of work and  how and where to seek advice when faced with situations outside your sphere of competence
  4. methods of working with, and resolving conflicts or barriers that you are likely to encounter when communicating with individuals
  5. methods and ways of communicating that:
    1. support equality and diversity
    2. support the rights of people to communicate in their preferred method, media and language
    3. are effective when dealing with, and challenging discrimination when communicating with individuals
  6. the principles of confidentiality, security and sharing of information for the environment in which you work
  7. the most effective and efficient way to communicate with others in times of need or emergency
  8. how your communication skills reflects on you, your organisation and/or workplace

Performance Criteria

You must be able to do the following:

  1. acknowledge and respond to communication promptly
  2. communicate clearly and coherently taking into account the needs of individuals
  3. select the most appropriate method of communication for the individuals
  4. ensure that the environment for communication is as conducive as possible for effective communication
  5. adapt your communication style to suit the situation
  6. identify any communication barriers with the individuals and take the appropriate action
  7. clarify points and check that you and others understand what is being communicated
  8. actively listen and respond appropriately to any questions and concerns raised during communications
  9. establish lines of communication which enable you to communicate with individuals in other locations in times of need or emergency
  10. maintain confidentiality of information where appropriate to do so

Additional Information

This National Occupational Standard was developed by Skills for Health.

This National Occupational Standard links with the following dimension within the NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework (October 2004).

Dimension: Core 1 Communication
GEN97 Communicate effectively in a healthcare environment
Final version approved June 2010 © copyright Skills For Health
For competence management tools visit tools.skillsforhealth.org.uk