Nursing

Ask the expert: Creating a working relationship between nurses and physicians

Nurse Leader Insider, March 29, 2010

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This week, Kathleen Bartholomew, RN, MN, discusses how a nurse manager can improve communication and understanding between the physicians and staff members on a unit.

Q: I am a new nurse manager on my unit and am wondering how I can improve communication and understanding between the physicians and my staff.

A: Opportunities for improving communication between physicians and nurses pop up every day. You find them in the irate physician who belittles a nurse right in front of his or her patient, or in the physician who refuses to call nurses by name. It is during these unfortunate events that the chance to speak your truth arises.

Garner administration support: Administrators need to ensure that hospital systems are in place to support and foster good nurse-physician relationships. Organizations that don't provide affirmative and continuous administrative support should expect to fail. Cooperation and collaboration start with the messages sent by our leaders and by seeing the process in action.

Create a zero-tolerance policy: A policy defines unacceptable behavior and its consequences, and it provides a much-needed support structure for nurses. However, a lone policy has proven not to be a deterrent to abuse unless it is followed and supported by both staff and administration. If there is no policy in place, advocate for one to be adopted—and that it be zero-tolerance.

To read additional ways to help improve communication between physicians and nurses, click here.

Editor’s note: Do you have a question for our experts? E-mail your queries to Editorial Assistant Sarah Kearns at skearns@hcpro.com and see your name in print next week! In the meantime, head over to our Web site and view a growing collection of advice from our experts.



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