Doctor-nurse communication and relationships play important roles in quality healthcare. As a future doctor, it’s important to understand that you and the nurses around you will need each other. Together, you are a team!

When doctors become commanding and controlling, the team becomes dysfunctional. So, you need to learn to communicate with nurses now, as a med student, before you start practicing medicine.

Doctor-Nurse Communication Helps Drive High-Quality Patient Care

Doctor-Nurse Communication Helps Drive High-Quality Patient Care. Image Source: Travel Nurse Source

Doctor-Nurse Communication: Why Doctors Should Listen to Nurses More

In a normal hospital situation, the patient care team is made up of doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals. This list includes med students doing clinical rotations, interns and residents. Of all of these people, who spends the most time with patients?

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

Many doctors are dismissive, 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.

As a future physician, you already know the responsibility of a doctor is one not to be taken lightly. However, it doesn’t justify ignoring the knowledge and expertise of the other healthcare professionals within your clinical environment.

This is especially true when it comes to nurses. You can learn some really important lessons from working together with nurses now as a medical student, as well as later when you’re a practicing physician.

These are also the people who know the patients best. Having a good relationship with the nurses you work with, gives you better access to information patients tend to share with nurses instead of doctors. So, start working on your doctor-nurse communication skills now, while you’re still in medical school.

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 co-operate. Here are two reasons for the breakdown in 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. Treat nurses as a team players. They are key to obtaining important patient information regarding responses to treatment and their conditions in general.

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.

Doctor-Nurse Relationships: Start Building Them Now

One of the joys of being a doctor is having an opportunity to work with some really 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.

You don’t have to wait until you’re a doctor to establish great doctor-nurse communication. Start right now… in medical school. Get the training you need to become pass your US medial exams, so you can work to become one of the top physicians in the US. Enroll in MedSmarter Atlanta exam prep courses today.

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