Tips for improving nurse?physician relationships

Nurse Leader Insider, June 29, 2017

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Experts agree that a collaborative healthcare environment leads to better patient outcomes and improved organizational success. Despite this, long-standing tensions between nurses and physicians can be difficult to overcome.

Though team training can do a lot of the work, it is up to the individual to take proactive steps in their day-to-day activities. Here are some tips for helping your staff improve their relationships with physicians.

  • Show professionalism: Small things like showing up on time and paying attention to detail can build respect in your professional relationships outside of the nursing unit. When something goes wrong, try to avoid negative behavior; don’t be the one to point fingers or show frustration.
  • Build effective communication: Presenting information in an organized and concise manner, especially in emergency situations, can go a long way in improving nurse-physician relationships. Some facilities use standardize communication tools to facilitate communication between providers.
  • Take the team approach: Approach healthcare situations with a collaborative mindset. Respect everyone’s role in patient care, where everyone is just as responsible for patient outcomes as the physician.
  • Speak up for the patient: It’s important to be respectful and professional, but it is just as important that you speak out on behalf of the patient when you notice something is wrong. Nurses must be comfortable speaking their mind to physicians, which can be difficult if there is not already mutual respect between both groups.

For more advice about team-building and improving nurse-physician communication, check out the Team-Building Handbook: Improving Nurse-Physician Communications.

You can also check out the articles from the Strategies for Nurse Managers Reading Room:
Communication and collaboration: IDT best practices
Diffusing disruptive physician behavior


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