Addressing the Disrespect Disconnect
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This article appears in the February 2012 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.
Smooth working relationships among nurses and physicians are seen as vital to increasing value in healthcare delivery, but there is a vast divide in the perception of how doctors treat nurses, the HealthLeaders Media Industry Survey 2012 reveals.
When asked how pervasive physician abuse or disrespect of nurses is, there was a clear disconnect between the two. While 42% of nurse leaders said it was common, only 13% of physician leaders said it was common. Likewise, 58% of nurse leaders said it was uncommon, while 88% of physician leaders said it was uncommon.
Pam Kadlick, RN, BS, MBA, MSN, vice president of patient care and chief nursing officer for 112-staffed-bed Mercy St. Anne Hospital in Toledo, OH, says she is surprised at what she cited as a high level of disrespect reported by the nurse leaders.
The findings illustrate fundamental "ineffective communication or having different expectations" among the two groups, with physicians sometimes having a misperception of nurses' roles, and nurses in conflict with physicians over the "misunderstanding of what needs to be done at a given time," Kadlick says. She acknowledges that such communication problems could manifest themselves when a physician "cuts off" a nurse's suggestion or comment.
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