Improving nurse-doctor communication


Thomas Northcut | Photodisc | Thinkstock

I know this topic has been circled around many a times, and sometimes it starts circling the drain – but this is a BIG ISSUE!  Especially on the unit I work on.  We’ve got nurses frustrated because in our big building, we don’t see the doctors rounding in the mornings; when we page, we don’t get an answer fast enough; when we call with a question, we get a snippy answer. Yes, nurses are frustrated. I’ve even had a few run-in’s myself with some doc’s, and I’m NEW!

So what do we do about it? It’s easy to complain and talk about it and get frustrated, but what good is that going to do, really??  I mean, really? Something needs to get done, and someone’s gotta do it. At my hospital, the new grads on each unit have to work on a research project that pertains to a problem specific to each unit. Most units focus on care quality topics, some focus on policy and procedure, but us? We’re focusing on bridging the gap between the nurses and the docs to make life a little easier, a little happier, for us all, and most importantly, improving the care we deliver to our patients as a team.

But I’m curious – what do you think of the communication between nurses and doctors on your floors, in your hospitals? Do you round with them in the morning? Do you have to page them throughout the day? Are they right there on your unit?  If things are GREAT between you and the docs, what makes them so great? What has you unit done to try to make things better when trying to communicate? It doesn’t just fall on the shoulders of SBARQ, there’s more to it , but what?

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Ani Burr, RN

I'm a brand new, full-fledged, fresh-out-of-school RN! And better yet, I landed the job of my dreams working with children. I love what I do, and while everyday on the job is a new (and sometimes scary) experience, I'm taking it all in - absorbing everything I can about this amazing profession we all fell in love with.

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One Response to Improving nurse-doctor communication

  1. GeorgeTNurse

    I had the problem years ago of the Doctor’s never sticking round after making rounds and not talking with the Nurses. In fact noone ever talked with the Nurses. The unit had a reputation of having poor skills because of the clients we took care of, inmates!
    I found a crystal water picture on the unit and filled it with… (are you ready for this?)…
    Rootbeer barrells, butterscotch buttons, star mints, just cheap penny candy and as many different kinds as I could find.
    When the Docs made rounds and stopped to chart they spent so much time choosing what candy they wanted I could talk to them for a few minutes. A couple of weeks of this and our unit earned a new reputation and the Doctors liked stopping by.