PURPOSE: Nursing communication has become more important than ever before because quality of nursing services largely depends on the quality of communication in a very competitive health care environment. This article was to introduce ways to improve nursing communication using conversation analysis. METHODS: This was a review study on conversation analysis, critically examining previous studies in nursing communication and interpersonal relationships. RESULTS: This study provided theoretical backgrounds and basic assumptions of conversation analysis which was influenced by ethnomethodology, phenomenology, and sociolinguistic. In addition, the characteristics and analysis methods of conversation analysis were illustrated in detail. Lastly, how conversation analysis could help improve communication was shown, by examining researches using conversation analysis not only for ordinary conversations but also for extraordinary or difficult conversations such as conversations between patients with dementia and their professional nurses. CONCLUSION: Conversation analysis can help in improving nursing communication by providing various structures and patterns as well as prototypes of conversation, and by suggesting specific problems and problem-solving strategies in communication.