Body language every nurse should know


3 ways body language can improve your work day

Image: John Anthony Rizzo | Brand X Pictures

1. Posture Matching

The adoption (or imitation) of common bodily postures (identified as posture matching) by people in pairs or groups tends to enhance rapport between/ among the people, because it signals that they are open to and with one another. The adoption of noncongruent postures tends to indicate attitudinal and perceptual differences or relationship distance.

2. Leaning forward

When people lean forward toward each other, it’s a sign of high comfort and agreement. If a nurse initiates this, it’s likely that the family members or coworkers will feel a little more at ease, and will respond in a more positive and cooperative manner.

3. Head Nodding

Head nodding while listening to patients and family members affords positive reinforcement. When a listening nurse nods when a patient or family speaks it shows they are following along and ‘with you.’
Typically one can’t fake body language as well as one can fake written or spoken language. Reading nonverbal signals and paying attention to your own nonverbal cues can often be critical for a nurse’s success and effectiveness.

This article is mentioned in the Spring 2010 print edition of Scrubs Magazine, which can be found at uniform retail stores nationwide or purchased online. Go to for a peek inside and to find out where you can get your copy!

Vlad Zachary
"America’s Professional Coach" Vlad Zachary is a leading expert in career and professional coaching with award-winning and world-recognized publications. He is the CEO of, founder of, and the author of the DVD Mastering the Job Interview and several e-books on healthcare, communications, psychology and career development.

    We’re celebrating you, the unsung heroes of nursing.

    Previous article

    NCLEX quiz: Chemotherapy and radiation treatments

    Next article

    You may also like

    More in Scrubs