How to Improve Communication Between Doctors and Nurses


Doctors and nurses share a common goal -- healing the patient. Therefore, it is crucial that a joint collaboration exist. Sometimes nurses are hesitant to communicate ideas regarding patient treatments, instead choosing to remain in an "assistant" role to the physician. Doctors make final decisions, based in part on the nurse's status reports. Therefore, effective communication between the two is vital for positive patient outcomes.

  • Maintain a professional connection with doctors. Always refer to him by his professional title and last name. You may have a friendship outside of work that makes you comfortable calling him by his first name; however, it is not acceptable on the job.

  • Attend communication workshops geared toward the nurse-physician relationship to sharpen your conflict resolution skills and listening skills. These workshops allow role-playing that is eye-opening when you see yourself from another person's viewpoint.

  • Make rounds with doctors to hear the care plan for the patient. This allows nurses inclusion in decision-making strategies. Nurses are able to voice their suggestions about patient treatments and alert doctors about problematic issues.

  • Meet with mediators to work out unconstructive connections that you may have with a doctor. Some common complaints from nurses are poor treatment, lack of respect and being viewed as inferior by doctors.

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