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COMMUNICATION

Perceptions of Effective and Ineffective nursing-physician communication in


Hospitals. Robinson,F.P., Gorman,G., Slimmer,LW. &Yudkowski,R. (2010)
Nursing Forum, 45(3), 206-216
Communication

Derek Howell #821643434


Professor Mary McGrory
Nurs 260(150)

COMMUNICATION

There are two key components to communication; clarity and understanding. Events ranging
in severity from simple hurt feelings to the complexity of starting a war have been brought on by
breakdowns in communication. As complicated as communication can be perceived to be the
following paragraphs will create a simplified understanding of concepts regarding how NursePhysician communication can be improved, and to facilitate more positive patient outcomes
through the collaboration of interdisciplinary teams. The areas of communication that will be
examined in the following pages will include; effective and ineffective communication, ways of
promoting communication between the two professions as well as key points from governing
bodies on how to use communication as an effective tool to promote professional relationships to
promote interdisciplinary teamwork. Even though we learn to communicate at a very young age
and have an almost infinite amount of technology involved in communication today, it is still
astounding that human beings have incredible difficulty reaching a point where we can all
communicate with fluid effectiveness that is clearly comprehended and understood without
offending or confusing other people, especially during times of crisis.
Communication whether it is effective or ineffective are topics that can affect every area of a
hospital from getting the wrong ingredients in your coffee at lunch, to an event as severe as a
patients death. As stated in the article; Perceptions of Effective and Ineffective Nurse-Physician
Communication in Hospitals, regarding a study of nurse-physician communication Many
participants mentioned the need for calm communication that included attention to a collegial
tone and normal volume. (F.Patrick Robinson PHD RN, 2010). Many situations can come into
play where a misunderstood message can drastically change the outcome of an event. Ontario
Power Generation (OPG) a company that runs many power generating stations throughout
Ontario, uses a unique system of communication to combat the many complex producers take

COMMUNICATION

place on a daily basis. OPG maintains a continued commitment to effective communication that
creates an effective team atmosphere between all of its different work groups. OPG uses three
way communication, a person sends a message I would like you to check out an alarm the
receiver restates the message I understand you would like me to check out an alarm and the
sender reiterates Yes, correct check out the alarm. Some situations are more complex than this
example, but this system enables both parties to understand the task simple or complicated that
needs to be completed. This three way communication would be very useful to hospital staff as it
has worked very effectively between many different workgroups at OPG. Implementation of a
three way communication system can be effective tool for hospitals to bridge the communication
gap between Nurses and Physicians.
Promoting communication is always vital to positive patient outcomes, and this point is only
magnified when working in high stress situations were correct communication regarding
significant decisions is crucial. A point made by the periodical Nursing Management pointed out
that mutual respect between nurses and physicians is a key component in the patient care process
and has led to a greater circumstance of positive patient outcomes. (Joyce Putnam DNP RN
ACNP-BC CCRN CHFN, 2014) Promoting communication between different teams or
disciplines is vitally important to creating a proficient workforce that can effectively solve
problems together for positive health outcomes. The use of a strategy known as table tops can
be an effective tool in demystifying the different roles individuals contribute to critical events.
During a table top session the different disciplines, such as nurses and doctors would be given
a theoretical situation (perhaps an actual event that went poorly) and they would act out in
groups consisting of both disciplines how they would actually respond to the event including any
communications that would take place. This group work is effective in allowing both sides of a

COMMUNICATION

situation to understand actions and standpoints regarding critical events. Table tops also give a
chance for both disciplines to have an appreciation for what the other contributes.
Teamwork is at the center of everything that is done by nurses and physicians are the patients,
and both disciplines have an obligation to the patient to meet their needs and promote positive
health outcomes. The CNO Professional Standards advise nurses that professional relationships
are trust and respect, resulting in improved patient care (CNO, 2009).The most important role of
communication is patient care and having an understanding of the duties of the different players
of your team so that the patient receives proper care that is exact and appropriate. Anyone that
has ever been a patient would have the same opinion regarding nurses and physicians, seldom are
they seen together outside an operating room. Creating a team atmosphere between the two
professions is an ongoing problem. More times than not nurses and physicians make separate
rounds not knowing the relationship the nurse or physician has had with the patient. An idea
stated in the Nursing Form periodical, was to have nurses and physicians attend rounds together
strengthening inter-professional relationships. (F.Patrick Robinson PHD RN, 2010) This system
of making rounds together would provide the patient with access to both members of a health
team, and facilitate any inquires on behalf of the patient.
In conclusion, communication between nurses and physicians can definitely be improved. The
positive aspect of the literature involved with this assignment is that both professions are aware
of the problem and are working in collaboration to improve communication deficits that would
cause poor patient outcomes. Ebersole and Hess Gerontological Nursing and Healthy Aging
states: We must break through the barriers and continue to reach toward the humanity of the
individual with the belief that communication is the most vital service we offer. (Theris
A.Touhy, 2012) If a team of nurses and physicians cannot properly communicate with each other,

COMMUNICATION

then the patient is at an increased risk of having a poor health outcome. The ideas of three way
communication, table tops and rounds made by both nurses and physicians are definitely a step
in the right direction. The security world found out that interdisciplinary communication can be a
great asset as they only began to actively share information post 9/11. Surely other disciplines
will forge their egos or presumptions and understand that through cooperation everyone that is
involved; nurse, physician and most importantly patient will benefit immensely.

COMMUNICATION

Bibliography
CNO. (2009, June). Retrieved from CNO Professional Standards, revised 2002:
www.CNO.org/Global/docs/prac/41006.ProfStds.pdf
F.Patrick Robinson PHD RN, G. G. (2010, July-September). Perceptions of Effective
and Ineffective Nurse-Physician Communications in Hospitals. Nursing Forum,
pp. 206-216.
Joyce Putnam DNP RN ACNP-BC CCRN CHFN, S. I.-B.-B. (2014, January). There's no
"I" in team: Evaluating nurse-physician collaboration. Nursing Managment,
pp. 10-13.
Theris A.Touhy, K. F. (2012). Ebersole and Hess' Gerontological Nursing and Healthy
Aging. Toronto: Elsevier.