ENHANCING COMMUNICATION BETWEEN NURSES AND PHYSICIANS
In healthcare, communication is a crucial element that should be addressed accordingly. Because once there is a poor connection of message between professionals in the clinical setting, medical error happens that could eventually be a contributing factor to endanger the safety of patients.
A small pilot study by University of Michigan researchers, illuminates on where nurse-physician communications can fail, and provides understanding about the potential causes of communication breakdowns.
In the study, video-recording interactions were made among nurses and physicians, and then the researchers had the study participants watch and critique the footage together.
Various themes emerged to help explain the poor communication.
One barrier to good communication is that the hospital hierarchy puts nurses at a power disadvantage, and many are afraid to speak the truth to physicians, Milisa Manojlovich, PhD, RN, CCRN, U-M professor of nursing, says in a news release.
The recordings showed nurses obliquely request what they wanted or express their needs. The indirect communication baffle physicians, who often ignored the nurses' requests and moved on to the next agenda item rather than ask for clarification.
Also, the study found that because physicians and nurses approach patient care from vastly different ways, achieving understanding isn't easy. Manojlovich defines communication as reaching a shared understanding.
One example of this was when a patient with mouth pain caused by the fungal infection thrush, couldn't swallow the pills needed to get better. The physician wanted to prescribe more medication to treat the thrush, but the nurse wanted to treat the patient with strong pain medication, as well.
"The physician realized that the pain was inhibiting the treatment, and treating the pain, as well as the condition, would solve the problem," Manojlovich says.
Additionally, the recordings signified that in good communication, the body language of both parties mimicked the other. In strained relationships, body language wasn't in sync.
For the study, Manojlovich and her team followed physicians and nurses at the U-M Health System. The nurses and physicians watched and commented on the video clips separately, and those comments were integrated into the video. Finally, both groups watched the clip together.
In the future, Manojlovich wish to record a larger group and use the videos as training instruments to develop better communication.
Erudite Nursing Institute™ is much supportive with this pilot study conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan. With this incredible feat, nurses and physicians can simply address each other’s failures concerning the mode of communication.
Note: The foregoing article is copyrighted and may not be reproduced in part or entirety without advance written permission. For permissions or editorial corrections, contact: Ms. Kelsey Hanna, khanna@EruditeNursing.education