Effect of a Multidisciplinary Intervention on Communication and Collaboration Among Physicians and Nurses

Published in: American Journal of Critical Care, v. 14, no. 1, Jan. 2005, p. 71-77

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2005

by Sondra Vazirani, Ron D. Hays, Martin F. Shapiro, Marie Cowan

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BACKGROUND: Improving communication and collaboration among doctors and nurses can improve satisfaction among participants and improve patients' satisfaction and quality of care. OBJECTIVE: To determine the impact of a multidisciplinary intervention on communication and collaboration among doctors and nurses on an acute inpatient medical unit. METHODS: During a 2-year period, an intervention unit was created that differed from the control unit by the addition of a nurse practitioner to each inpatient medical team, the appointment of a hospitalist medical director, and the institution of daily multidisciplinary rounds. Surveys about communication and collaboration were administered to personnel in both units. Physicians were surveyed at the completion of each rotation on the unit; nurses, biannually. RESULTS: Response rates for house staff (n = 111), attending physicians (n = 45), and nurses (n = 123) were 58%, 69%, and 91%, respectively. Physicians in the intervention group reported greater collaboration with nurses than did physicians in the control group (P < .001); the largest effect was among the residents. Physicians in the intervention group reported better collaboration with the nurse practitioners than with the staff nurses (P < .001). Physicians in the intervention group also reported better communication with fellow physicians than did physicians in the control group (P = .006). Nurses in both groups reported similar levels of communication (P = .59) and collaboration (P = .47) with physicians. Nurses in the intervention group reported better communication with nurse practitioners than with physicians (P < .001). CONCLUSIONS: The multidisciplinary intervention resulted in better communication and collaboration among the participants.

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