Doctor-Nurse Communication: Learn to Work Together Now in Med School

Doctor Nurse Communication

Why Doctors Should Listen to Nurses More

Doctor-nurse communication and relationships play an essential role in providing quality healthcare. As a future physician, you must understand that you and the nurses you will work with will be a team.

It will help if you learn to communicate with nurses now as a medical student before practicing in a hospital setting.

In a typical hospital situation, the patient care team comprises doctors, nurses, residents, medical students, and other healthcare professionals. Of all these care providers, nurses are the ones who spend the most time with patients. 

Nurse & Patient Relations

Nurses spend more time with patients in hospital settings than doctors and future physicians do. So, they tend to understand and relate to patients more in terms of symptoms and responses to treatments prescribed by physicians and residents.

Nurses and patients are more empathetic toward each other as compared to other staff members. 

Sniffy physicians

Many doctors are dismissive, and curt and barely listen to patients or other team players. Sometimes, they’re in a rush. Other times, they let their egos rule their actions and just don’t focus on others.

At times, they may be letting their egos rule their actions and not focusing on others. Often, patients expect a lot more than treatment, and that is empathy or a polite response from the doctors with due respect. 

Grasp the Facts

Nurses are a crucial point of contact between you, the future doctor, and the patient. Better communication between a physician and a nurse makes the work process more manageable.

Why is there a need for better doctor-nurse communication? 

Nurses tend to know more about patients’ histories because they spend more time with them during their hospital stay and become closer.

Sometimes patients are under pressure when communicating with the doctor and may skip vital details in the process. The nurse’s information is a useful source for doctors to make treatment plans for a patient.

Focus on your communication with nurses

As a medical student and later in your career, you will learn some fundamental lessons from working with nurses. Nurses are the ones who know the patients best. One of many reasons is time, and the other is they relate to each other. 

Because nurses don’t have to treat the patients or be tougher with the work process, they are more empathetic. And sharing pain with anyone creates a bond. 

This patient and nurse bond are of great benefit to doctors. So, start working on your doctor-nurse communication skills now, while you’re still in medical school. 

This practice will help you build better communication habits. You may also learn a lot from the experiences they are willing to share.

See also: 10 Mistakes Med Students Make During Clinical Rotations – Part 1

Issues with Doctor-Nurse Communication in Hospital Settings

Poor communication is a major issue when doctors and nurses working in the same clinical environment don’t cooperate. Here are two reasons for the breakdown of doctor-nurse communication in hospital environments.

Some Doctors Lack Team Leadership Training

Many physicians lack very important team leadership skills. They tend to give orders in very, ‘my way or the highway manners. And they rarely listen to what others have to say, including skilled nurses.

A hospital is not a military base where you just give orders like generals for the nurses to follow.

Nurses are an essential bridge between doctors and patients. Nurses tend to know more about patients’ personal and medical history and how well they respond to the treatment.

Treat nurses as team players. Doctors are indeed in a profession where they are to be respected, but so are the nurses.

Physician Burnout Makes Everyone Suffer

A doctor’s engagement may vary depending on how well her/his needs are being met in the outside world. Interactions are also determined by how busy the doctor is at the time.

According to studies, one-third of doctors suffer from physician burnout. This condition really affects their team leadership abilities.

A physician who’s not suffering from burnout talks less and listens more. They are more likely to remain unbiased when working with nurses. Always remember that doctors and nurses working together both have the same goal in mind and should have each other’s best interests at heart.

See also: Working in Silos: 5 Lessons Nurses Can Teach Med School Students

What are the tips for developing better communication?

One of the joys of being a doctor is having an opportunity to work with some great nurses. If doctors’ and nurses’ relationships are adversarial, nurses are more likely to deny physicians vital clinical wisdom.

Your success as a doctor will depend on how well you communicate with your nurses and the hospital staff. Here are some tips for developing better communication:

1- Consider yourself and all the other staff members as a part of the healthcare industry and not just the hospital, and doctors and nurses are a crucial part of this industry. 

2- Learn and observe the importance of their patient care role and think about managing without their help.

3- Train your brain for learning, and there will be no room left for ego or any superiority delusions.

4- Let the communication prosper within healthy professional boundaries without disrespect or emotional harm. 

5- Start learning right from the time of being a medical student. You don’t have to wait until you’re a doctor to establish excellent doctor-nurse communication skills. 

Get the training you need to become a top physician in the United States. Speak with a student advisor about how the MedSmarter roadmap towards becoming a practicing physician can help you achieve a higher score on your USMLEs, gain necessary clinical skills, and learn to sell your brand comfortably.

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