Guest post by Courtney H. Lyder, dean and professor of the UCLA School of Nursing
In a recent editorial in The New York Times, Theresa Brown wrote about how clinical hierarchies and the impact of conflict between nurses and physicians can be deadly for a patient. She said "when doctors and nurses don't get along, it's the patient who suffers."
A lot of studies show that poor communication is linked to adverse patient outcomes. For example, of the 1,243 sentinel events reported to the Joint Commission in 2011, communication problems were identified in 60 percent.
By its very nature, healthcare is complicated; it is a rapidly changing environment and unpredictable. Professionals from a variety of disciplines can care for a patient during a 24-hour period, which can limit the opportunities for face-to-face communication.
With the focus of healthcare moving increasingly to the team approach, it becomes even more critical for physicians and nurses to work in collaboration. Higher education institutions including UCLA and the University of Virginia, for example, are working to improve how nurses and physicians work together before they enter the clinical environment.