Effective communication is necessary for all human relationships, but it is especially crucial in the healthcare industry since poor doctor-nurse or practitioner-patient interactions result in poor patient outcomes. Therefore, poor communication may lead to poor treatment. The most common communication breakdown in a healthcare setting is during a shift change when one caregiver hands over responsibility for a patient to the next. It is more likely that medical mistakes will occur when information is unclear, ambiguous, or incomplete during handoffs. As a result of miscommunication, incorrect diagnoses, surgeries, and medications have been prescribed in certain circumstances. One way to learn more about the consequences of poor communication in the healthcare system is to examine the many types of interactions that take place there.
The Effect on Healthcare
The complexity of patient demands must be considered as the demand for treatment from several disciplines grows. The two main types of communication that take place at a hospital or clinic are those between doctors and nurses and those between nurses and patients (Tan et al., 2017). Effective communication between nurses and doctors is crucial since they are the most important members of the staff providing direct care to patients. However, information silos persist, threatening patient safety, care, and results. Although there are many elements at play, the most common ones involve the personalities of doctors and nurses and the atmosphere of a hospital or clinic. They also have different methods of communication; a practice environment that is seen as disruptive, a power imbalance between doctors and nurses, and a different understanding of each other’s jobs.
Unintentional patient outcomes, such as increased hospital length of stay and damage from delayed treatment or misdiagnosis, have been connected to such complications and problems. Kee et al. found that between 210,000 and 440,000 fatalities yearly in the United States may be attributed to sentinel events, the second leading cause of mortality in the healthcare industry. Furthermore, poor relationships have an impact on healthcare providers as well. A rise in the prevalence of emotions of declining worth, job discontent, and attrition in the nursing profession is attributable, in part, to poor nurse-physician communication (Tan et al., 2017). Faulty rules and processes, a lack of clear documentation, and heavy workloads may all contribute to weak interactions. For instance, in a CRICO malpractice complaint, the defendant was accused of concealing the patient’s history of gastrointestinal problems before surgery. The patient had internal bleeding and eventually died of a hemorrhage.
Because of this, the relationship between a patient and their main caregiver is highly valued. The importance of open and honest communication between healthcare providers and their patients has only increased over the last decade, reflecting the shift toward patient-centered care that respects each individual’s right to make decisions about their treatment. Despite the efforts, poor communication skills among nurses and physicians are the main underlying reason for increased patient complaints. Facilitating a strong doctor-patient connection allows the afflicted individual to feel safe enough to provide information crucial to making an accurate diagnosis. On the other side, it helps doctors learn more about patients’ underlying issues, what drives them, and what they need from treatment.
However, patient satisfaction suffers when there is a failure in communication between the two parties. Arbitrators often find that miscommunication between physicians and patients is to blame for the resulting malpractice claims. Patients here tend to choose psychological model-based communication ideas over their biological counterparts (Kee et al., 2018). On the other hand, doctors believe that they possess quality communication skills. Negative effects on patient care, clinician efficiency, and healthcare spending may all stem from misunderstandings between doctors and patients.
Comparing and contrasting various communication methods
Health care professionals recognize the potential advantages of open lines of communication. Benefits like these may be achieved when caregivers use verbal and nonverbal communication strategies. Although there has been a consistent effort toward enhancing spoken communication, studies have shown that most everyday interactions rely on non-verbal signs. Nonverbal and verbal communication may strengthen mutual understanding between patients and doctors. However, to effectively use nonverbal communication, one must have a high situational awareness to recognize potentially inappropriate body language and other signs.
Caregivers may proactively raise the quality of their non-verbal communication via several different methods. Primarily, this means smiling and making eye contact that doesn’t come off as gazing. When customers are treated with respect and attention, they are more likely to provide details about their health (MedPro, 2018). Clinical staff should refrain from yawning, fidgeting, checking the time repeatedly, or peeking out the window. When feasible, doctors should take a seat, lean forward, and show they’re paying attention by nodding their heads periodically. Lastly, open body language by not crossing your arms or legs, which might be seen as a sign of disdain, apathy, or judgment.
When compared, the importance of verbal communication in developing healthy relationships is well acknowledged. Compared to the verbal technique, which also incorporates verbal and written communications, the non-verbal model solely consists of hand and body motions. This communication is often utilized in healthcare to distribute information about the facility or patient care. Handoff procedures during a shift change often rely heavily on verbal communication. For example, nurses often seek their peers’ advice on the best ways to approach difficult problems from a holistic perspective. A pediatric nurse could consult with a general physician about the health of a kid under their care.
Numerous professionals believe that good communication is essential for providing first-rate healthcare. However, adverse results, such as patient mortality, might arise from poor contact. This study broke down interprofessional contact into two major groups: nurse-physician exchanges and patient-caregiver conversations. There might be sentinel occurrences, including longer hospital stays and deaths, due to a lack of communication between nurses and physicians. On the other hand, if physicians and patients cannot maintain open lines of communication, it may lead to poor treatment, incorrect diagnoses, and increased healthcare costs. Verbal and nonverbal clues are two of the most often utilized communication methods amongst healthcare stakeholders. Communication is hampered by the power imbalance that results from hierarchical management organizations.
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