Authors: Norma Ponzoni
Abstract: Objective: Despite growing evidence in the nursing literature that nurse-physician communication is strongly linked to positive patient outcomes and quality care, inter-professional collaboration remains problematic. Ineffective nurse-physician communication is still prevalent and the underlying causes seem difficult to change. Background: Upon registration for an annual Nursing conference, participants were asked to provide a few words explaining why: "nurse-physician communication is sub-optimal at times". Of the 350 conference participants, 187 nurses and physicians chose to respond to this question. Methods: Participant responses were regrouped into themes. These themes highlight the factors that contribute to ineffective nurse-physician communication. Results: Multiple factors seem to contribute to ineffective nurses-physician communication. Factors have been regrouped into professional, relational and environmental challenges. Conclusions: Nurses and physicians are trained to communicate differently. They also have very little understanding of the roles and responsibilities of one another. Better communication and collegiality can be fostered via inter-professional exposure. Nursing education should also systematically train nurses to engage in deliberate, structured communication.
Keywords: nurse-physician communication; interprofessional collaboration