When I’m not hosting a conversation for my podcast, being a musician or a father and husband, I spend my days working for a health care foundation.
The other day, during a care center leadership meeting, one of the nurses at the meeting made reference to the SBAR communication model.
I had never heard of SBAR before- but my research indicates that there is some merit to considering this model for every day use.
What is SBAR?
The SBAR (Situation-Background-Assessment-Recommendation) technique provides a framework for communication between members of the health care team about a patient’s condition. In short, it’s a model used in health care to frame critical conversations.
The thing is, critical conversations or inconvenient conversations are part of everyday life. In the context of a situation involving a patient, it is important that the right information be passed along and “so-called” rules of engagement be followed – after all, having a patient’s life be at risk because we couldn’t communicate effectively is not really an option.
Most of our critical conversations do not deal with matters of life and death, but having a clear framework for how we communicate critical information about a project with our team, our supervisors or with our clients might, in the end, prevent things to escalate or even get personal.
Miscommunication is often to blame
If you think back to a recent project you worked on and the challenges you may have faced during the execution of the tasks of said project, miscommunication or lack of shared meaning may have been part of the problem.
We are, after all, human — our emotions, our pride, our desire to always be right often get in the way.
If we made it a point to apply the SBAR communication model in those critical moments, we might save ourselves and our team a whole lot of trouble.
Next time I sense a critical or inconvenient conversation may need to be had, I plan on using the SBAR model as a framework to help me walk through this critical moment. I plan to approach the conversation using the following:
- Situation: I will describe the situation or friction point as I see it. I will stick to the facts and keep my emotions and opinions out of it.
- Background: I will provide all the relevant background information (again sticking to the facts) that is necessary to issue at hand.
- Assessment: Based on the situation I’ve describe and the background information I’ve shared, I will provide my candid assessment of the situation.
- Recommendation: I will provide my honest and heartfelt recommendation on what I believe might help resolve the situation.
I will be the first to admit that this is not as simple as it seems. I tend to carry baggage (I think we all do) that can easily get in the way – things like how we are feeling today, memories of how similar situations where handled in the past – but making an honest effort to use something like the SBAR model does have a place in every day life and clearly has the potential to make a critical or inconvenient conversation easier to navigate.
What do you think? Is there a place for this model in your daily interaction?