Any article that has the word “tips” or “list” in the title always seems to grab my attention.  To me those words mean that the article is a quick read with valuable information that I shouldn’t miss. In this month’s OR Nurse 2010, I quickly turned to 7 tips to improve your professional etiquette. In this article, the author advises us on introductions, the importance of a confident handshake, specifics about body language, and more. I especially appreciated the following list of gestures to avoid:

“Some gestures may be misunderstood and considered offensive to people from other cultures. To play it safe, try to avoid these in conversation:
• the "okay" sign
• thumbs up
• the "V" for victory sign, especially with the palm facing inward
• pointing or snapping your fingers
• waving your hand with your arm raised.1

I must admit that I’ve been guilty of using several of these gestures, especially with mechanically ventilated patients or patients who were unable to communicate verbally for other reasons. Do you know of anything else that should be on this list? 

1. Pagana KD. The Nurse's Etiquette Advantage: How Professional Etiquette Can Advance Your Nursing Career. Indianapolis, IN: Sigma Theta Tau International; 2008.