How Physician-Nurse Collaboration Improves Team Care

Imagine this scenario: A physician walks into a patient’s room during morning rounds. 

The physician asks about how the patient is feeling, what’s planned for that day, and everything else that might be relevant to the plan of care. 

The physician then leaves the room and moves on to a different floor. 

Who is missing from this vital interaction? 

Who is a key implementer of care plan strategies? 

It is the nurse. 

Nurses are essential collaborators for care delivery, as they provide care for patients, answer questions that arise from patients and families, deal with urgent issues, decide whether an issue requires the physician’s attention, and more. When physician and nurse colleagues are in sync, they form a communication dyad that is one of the most robust in medicine. 

An impactful collaboration between nurses and physicians will bridge gaps in experience backgrounds and training. What are some of the immediate and tangible benefits of improved physician-nurse collaboration? Consider the following: 

  1. Collaboration proactively shapes clinical outcomes through consistent communication with patients and families. 
  2. Collaboration prevents medical errors.
  3. Collaboration improves professional satisfaction for both doctors and nurses. 
  4. Collaboration accelerate efficiency and diminish rework.

When patients see, interact with, and participate within a highly collaborative clinical environment, the care team takes a huge leap forward in pulling three essential levers of the patient experience: the patient feels cared for, feels listened to, and is assured by the care provided. This shared effort can create and sustain hope for patients, as well. Every time a physician or nurse sees a patient, he or she can build toward this type of collaboration–it’s something individuals can do in real-time without waiting for a departmental mandate. 

So here’s a technique to try during your next shift: Choose a care team colleague (nurses, select a physician; physicians, select a nurse) and ask each other “What do you think are the best strategies to improve our interactions when we’re taking care of patients together?” Then, work to implement one suggestion right away. 

Interested in learning how practical tips like this can be incorporated into clinician coaching and development programs? Contact us by Getting Started.

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