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  1. Duckett, Kathy MSN, RN


Gaining patient trust has been shown to improve health outcomes. Trust between the patient and the clinician starts with the clinician demonstrating empathy and positive attributes such as kindness and approachability. The advent of COVID-19 and the need for clinicians, patients, and caregivers to wear masks at all times has unintentionally limited nonverbal communication and potentially affected the ability of clinicians to quickly gain patients' and caregivers' trust. With so much time being spent on reeducating clinicians on infection control and donning and doffing personal protective equipment, agencies must not lose sight of the need to ensure that clinicians understand how to improve their communication skills while wearing a mask. This article provides tips on ways to use verbal and nonverbal communication to demonstrate empathy and to build trust in patient interactions to offset the difficulties wearing a mask can impose.