Free «Lack of Physician-Nurse Collaboration» Essay Sample

Lack of Physician-Nurse Collaboration

Articulation of Response

The relentless and rapid evolution and development of the health care system brings with it the urge to revisit vital concepts, including the collaboration between the physician and the nurse. The health care system demands cost-effectiveness, quality improvement, and efficiency, which may be acquired through maximizing interprofessional collaboration between the physician and the nurse (LaFasto & Larson, 2011). Collaboration entails joint responsibility and intentional knowledge sharing for patient care. On various occasions, the collaboration between physicians and nurses may involve fleeting encounters in hospital settings. In such settings, it is often impossible to have a second chance for collaboration since the interaction may leave a lasting negative or positive impression among those involved. The health care practitioners should be able to share information with one another to produce better patient outcomes. Each health care professional possesses the information needed by another one, which can be shared through interactions. The current paper is the research on the lack of collaboration between physicians and nurses.

Problem Statement

Lack of cooperation between doctors and nurses has created more problems than benefits. The outcome of care is often affected by the weak relationship between health care professionals. Physicians and nurses ought to work together through sharing information and ideas that will be vital in the planning of a patient care. The collaboration between nurses and physician is an important component of patient care because it boosts the morale of both health care providers and improves the results of the patient (Larson, 2011). The current health care system challenges health practitioners to offer efficient, effective, and patient-centered care. Therefore, it is important for health institutions to encourage collaborations between nurses and physicians to improve the outcome of patients in the care settings (LeTourneau, 2014). The health organizations should advocate policies that will encourage teamwork and interprofessional collaboration. The move will ensure doctors and nurses collaborate to improve the status of patients. Lack of cooperation between physicians and nurses is harmful to the patients and should be discouraged through the establishment of programs that will foster interprofessional interaction.  

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Background of the Problem

Doctors and nurses are strongly influenced by the unique jargon of their disciplines, the attitudes of their educators, and their professional, cultural norms. The professional socialization can act as a barrier to effective collaboration. Both quality and safety of patient care obtained depend on the environment where care is provided (Maytum, Heiman, & Garwick, 2014). The health care system has continued to witness poor patient outcome related to the weak interaction between medical practitioners. The poor collaboration between doctors and nurses has existed for an extended period.

Practice Change, Quality Improvement or Innovation

Lack of interactions between physicians and nurses has affected negatively the patient care. Therefore, it is important for health managers to find a long lasting solution that will foster interprofessional collaboration. Health care management should generate policies that will encourage nurses and physician to work together. Besides, programs that allow medical practitioners to share information and ideas should be created. For instance, both doctors and nurses can attend a joint conference or seminars on patient care. Such a move will encourage them to share ideas that will be vital in the planning of care (Hojat et al., 2011).

Power differential, hierarchy, and avoidance of disagreement have characterized the relationship between physicians and nurses previously. Currently, fundamental challenges persist in various health care settings, including dismissive attitudes toward nurses, disruptive behavior of physicians, as well as gender and power issues (Kai & Drinkwater, 2014). It is, therefore, important for the health care management team to push for accountability throughout the health care system as well as encourage both professionals to work together as a team (Hojat et al., 2013).

Rationale for Innovation and Change of Practice

Creation of policies of the health institution will encourage health workers to work together to boost patient’s outcome. Both nurses and doctors are often controlled by the policies generated in the hospital. Therefore, any policy created will impact their behavior. The policies introduced should focus on ensuring that health professionals work together for the benefit of the patient. Management of the complexities associated with current health care settings takes patience and all of the resources that caregivers and leaders can muster. In a health setting that is full of risks, it is vital that all distractions are kept to a minimal, and all caregivers should stay focused. The importance of promoting collaboration and communication among health care providers is essential to optimum care, error and risk reduction, and improved outcome (Henry, 2011). In every health care setting, patients often become more prone to risks and mistakes if practitioners fail to collaborate. Thus, medical practitioners should be accountable and have to work together to enhance positive patient outcome (Goleman, 2015).

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Literature Review

According to Larson & LaFasto (2012), the absence of communication generates a situation where medical errors are created. Such errors may result in unexpected patient’s death or severe injury. An error that results from a failure to communicate is a significant challenge in the current health care system. LaFasto & Larson (2011) reveal that communication failure is one of the leading causes of medical errors in the health care setting. Lack of collaboration between physicians and nurses may also result in wrong site surgery, delay in treatment, and post-operative fatal falls and events (De Pree, 2015). Extensive research has indicated that collaboration, communication, and teamwork are never practiced in the health care system (Eisenhardt, Kahwajy, & Burgeois, 2014).

Comparative, social and organizational structures result in the failure of collaboration or communication among health care practitioners (Maytum et al., 2014; LeTourneau, 2014). Besides, priorities among health professionals towards patient care differ; hence, the communication is often inconsistent (Blickensderfer, 2011). Larson (2011) reveals that many health practitioners are used to poor teamwork and communication because of low expectations. Despite research showing that poor communication and collaboration can lead to tragic effects, Coeling and Cukr (2013) indicate that interprofessional communication might lead to the improved flow of information, positive patient outcome, improved safety, active intervention, and increased patient and family satisfaction.

According to Beck-Kritek (2014), both real and perceived differences in status and power between nurses and doctors can lead to challenges when they fail to agree on patient’s plan of care. Traditionally, the medical profession has emphasized autonomy, expertise, and responsibility more than dialogue, interdependence, and deliberation (Schuster, Stein, & Jaycox, 2011). The nursing profession, on the other hand, has stressed on bureaucracy and hierarchy, making it a challenge to establish a long lasting collaboration with physicians regarding patient care (Lindeke & Block, 2012). Research conducted by Lindeke & Block (2015) indicates that active cooperation between nurses and physicians results in the improved outcome of the patients.

Goleman (2015) and Roberts (2014) reveal that different emphases that nurses and doctors have toward patient care may result in the weak relationship between them. The outcome may compromise patient care; therefore, it is important to establish a relationship that will lead to efficient care delivery. The interaction between physicians and nurses is multi-dimensional (Pike, 2011). It can take place electronically via fast-paced interaction such as e-mail or via face-to-face interactions. In whatever form or place, collaboration entails the exchange of ideas or views that consider the perspective of both practitioners, whether understanding is reached in the interaction or not (Kramer & Schmalenberg, 2013).

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Despite plans to make medical profession less paternalistic, there is still a perception that physicians are in charge and give orders followed by both patients and nurses (Maslach, 2013). Gender-based issues are still a huge challenge with older male doctors viewing female nurses as subordinate (Fagin, 2012). Finding ways to promote effective communication and collaboration between physician and nurses has continued to be a huge problem in the health care setting (Kai & Drinkwater, 2014). There exists a fundamental difference between doctors and nurses. Nurses are often trained to view patients holistically while physicians have been trained to focus on cases and strategies for cures and treatment without necessarily considering social, emotional and cultural factors that affect the patient (Quill & Townsend, 2011). 

Hojat et al. (2013) state that despite the problems of dealing with non-collaborative habits, genuine interaction is necessary for the satisfaction of health care providers, as well as for the benefits of patients. The interaction between physicians and nurses is rewarding when they share the responsibilities of patient care (Malone & Morath, 2011). It is evident that poor relationship between health care providers can result in nurse burnout and threaten patient safety, resulting in high staff turnover (Lindeke, Hauck, & Tanner, 2013). The ultimate goal and greatest challenge are to develop a personal and friendly environment where doctors and nurses can question ideas and decisions made by one another without a defensive response or fear (Easson-Bruno, 2013). Even the best-trained physicians and nurses make mistakes and to deal with increasing medical errors, interprofessional communication and collaboration should be encouraged (Johnson, Norton, & Wilson, 2012).

The challenge of ineffective physician-nurse communication is both complex and shared. According to Hojat et al. (2011), the weak relationship between physicians has been found to impact negatively the outcome of patient care. Utilization of structured communication tools, improvement of organizational culture, and linking a communication platform with efficient tools of communication are vital in addressing various communication gaps experienced in the health care system (Henry, 2011). The hospital organization should be able to set up policies and events that will foster interaction among health care practitioners (Hojat, Fields, & Gonnella, 2013). 

Best Practices

Misunderstanding among health care professionals in a medical setting is common. Service provision may be compromised in cases when commotions are not adequately managed (Roberts, 2014). Good working relationship and teamwork in a hospital are essential because the life of the patient depends on them. Despite doctors being trained to handle complicated cases, nurses are at the center of assisting patients directly (Fagin, 2012). Health organizations should increase off-hour contact, provide professional education, better allocate resources, and define roles of each professional to solve various issues that result in a lack of collaboration between nurses and physicians. Patients and their families will welcome cooperation between doctors and nurses. The move will make it possible for patients to receive safe and quality care. Physician-nurse collaboration has also been associated with high patient satisfaction scores (Eisenhardt et al., 2014).

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Evidence Summary

Research conducted by Maytum et al. (2014) and LeTourneau (2014) reveals that the demand for provision of high-quality care has increased, and health care professionals are challenged to offer safe, quality, and efficient care. The authors have revealed that such high-quality care can be provided through effective interaction and communication between the nurse and the physician. This research finding is also supported by Hojat et al. (2013) who state that effective interprofessional collaboration streamlines patient care and prevents costly errors. Moreover, Fargin’s (2012) research proves that the lack of physician-nurse interaction has reduced the quality of care, resulting in the loss of lives and increasing medical errors. According to Roberts (2014), medical institutions should be able to organize joint forums and programs that will boost interaction among health care professionals.

Health organizations should focus on establishing a long-lasting collaboration and communication between physicians and nurses. Collaboration among health practitioners is important to all those involved. Doctors will benefit from active physician-nurse collaboration because of reduced interruption from nurses (Easson-Bruno, 2013). Besides, working together will save time and improve the outcome of the patient. Through collaborating with the nurse, the plan will be developed and implemented, orders will be clarified during discussions, and information can easily be shared with the patient and the family. With knowledge of the plan of care, the nurse will ensure that tests, treatments, and discharges are completed in time. Organizations should foster interprofessional collaboration since with improved communication, omissions, errors, and missed orders will be less likely to take place, which will lower risks and liability of lawsuits (De Pree, 2015).

Health organization should encourage effective leadership by applying some theories to promote collaboration among practitioners. Such approaches include great man theory, behavioral theory, and participatory theory. The principles help professionals to work together to achieve common goals such as positive patient outcome (Coeling & Cukr, 2013). The hospital should encourage programs that enhance interaction and involve both nurses and doctors in other activities such as recruitment. Besides, continuous education and workshops that focus on communication and teamwork should be encouraged (Lindeke & Block, 2012).


Health care managers should advocate policies and legislation that enhance interaction and teamwork among physicians and nurses. Interprofessional collaboration is vital and central to the well-being of the patient. Motivated and mature health care team should work together to prevent burnout and foster self-awareness. Labor and knowledge are intimately related to interaction. An effortless and smooth flow of work gives the impression that knowledge bases are shared between physicians and nurses and that work is mutually supported and understood. When knowledge bases are not understood, communicated, or dismissed, professional boundaries are strengthened, and patient management is relegated to nurses.