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Resolving the Disrespect Disconnect

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, March 8, 2012

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.


HealthLeaders Media Industry Survey 2012
The priorities and concerns of nearly 1,000 of your colleagues in healthcare leadership are revealed in this year's comprehensive multi-part survey, our fourth annual HealthLeaders Media Industry Survey.
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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.

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3 comments on "Resolving the Disrespect Disconnect"


Greg Mercer, MSN (3/9/2012 at 5:35 PM)
AZ Nurse Amanda Trujillo was not only disrespected for her routine patient education and advocacy, she was also fired and her license has been in limbo for a year now. Her education led a patient to seek information regrading hospice, at a potential cost to her employer (Banner Health) of hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue. The Board of Nursing considering Banner's complaint against Amanda includes at least three members who work for Banner Health. In response to this corruption and the attack on Nurses' ability to advocate and educate patients free of retaliation, we have put up a Change.org petition to boycott Arizona until we see some BON changes - please check it out & help us spread the word, next Hearing is 3/19 and AZBON reauthorization is still in the Legislature - we're running out of time on this unusually opportune time for positive change. See http://www.change.org/petitions/governor-state-of-arizona-address-corrupting-factors-in-the-arizona-board-of-nursing and/or http://wp.me/p278fi-iV Thanks, Greg Mercer, MSN

pamben (3/8/2012 at 5:20 PM)
"Women are from Venus, Men are from Mars." I would love to see the survey responses separated by gender. I suspect male nurses do not feel disrespected; and female nurses working with female physicians have a lower level of disrespect than when working with male nurses. If we have trouble making the communication work in intimate relationships, why do we expect the perception to be different at work? As a female physician I often feel disrespected by male colleagues, until I watch their interaction with other docs, I get the same treatment they do...no disrespect meant. Dr. B

Bill (3/8/2012 at 4:54 PM)
I agree that there is a disconnect between what nurses perceive and what doctors think they they are communicating in their interactions with nurses. If nursing education included a rotation with physician residents, nurses would understand that increasingly demands on physicians require that they are given vital information and patient assessment quickly and accurately. What a nurse may perceive as rudeness or arrogance is simply a necessity in delivering the right care at the right time. If nursing education included a rotation with physicians and house staff (which podiatrists, chiropractors, and oral surgeons have all done at my teaching institution) nurses would have a much better understanding of why we do what we do. We are not arrogant, just overburdened.