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Communication problems within care teams

When getting medical treatment at a hospital, you might receive care from many different doctors and nurses. It is not uncommon to be seen by dozens of medical professionals during a hospital stay. With such large care teams, good communication among the different members of the team is very important.

Unfortunately, communication difficulties can arise within such teams. For example, the doctors and nurses on the team might have trouble communicating with each other in a productive and effective manner. Such communication difficulties between doctors and nurses can have a variety of sources, including:

  • The traditional hierarchal structure of patient care (this may leave nurses feeling dissuaded from speaking up)
  • Societal norms
  • The individual personalities of the doctors and nurses
  • How these personalities mix

And nurse-doctor communication problems are far from the only difficulties in communicating that can arise within a care team. Another area where such difficulties can be common are patient hand-offs. This is when a patient is transferred from one care provider to another. Sometimes, important information regarding the patient gets lost in the shuffle during these hand-offs.

Many things can impact how likely these types of communication problems are to arise. One is the training doctors and nurses receive. What sorts of things would you like to see happen with medical training to try to help improve the ability of different medical professionals to effectively communicate with one another?

What the workplace culture is at health care facilities can also have big impacts on care team communication. What do you think are the best ways for hospitals to promote a culture that is supportive of good communication and which helps break down potential barriers to such communication?

How strong communication is within a care team is not minor matter. Rather, it is an issue that can deeply affect patients. Problems with such communication are among the things that can lead to serious missteps in patient care, such as medication errors or surgical mistakes. Such errors can leave a patient facing major health and financial worries. Medical malpractice attorneys can help victims of such errors explore their options regarding compensation.

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