Rachel, a first-year resident physician in internal medicine, receives a code blue page. As she rushes to the bedside, she finds herself in one of the most daunting situations in healthcare. She isn't alone though; by her side is a senior resident physician and an expert team of nurses. Kim, a senior nurse in the unit, notices the fearfulness in Rachel’s eyes.
Kim approaches Rachel and says, “you’ve got this.” The highly trained code blue team further supports Rachel by following her instructions, which results in saving the patient’s life. Kim, who has been working as a critical care nurse for 20 years, has been involved in the training of hundreds of doctors—including Rachel’s attending physician. Rachel will later become a critical care doctor after six years of training, and she will always remember Kim’s reassuring words “you’ve got this.”
Every year, resident physicians initiate their journey in specialty training. Our nurses, the backbone of clinical care in the hospital setting, are integral to training future practicing physicians. The residents progress in their training, building long-lasting relationships with nurses along the way. These crucial connections ultimately foster better patient care.
As medical residents progress in their training, they build
long-lasting relationships with nurses.
These crucial connections foster better patient care.
Repairing a broken dynamic
The nurse-physician dynamic plays an important role in how physicians and nurses remain engaged in patient care, and it contributes greatly to work satisfaction for both professionals. But with increasing rates of attrition at all levels of nursing, the dynamic is broken, adding another layer to the burnout, fatigue, and frustration our clinical experts are feeling.
Some health systems and medical schools are launching groundbreaking programs to repair the broken nurse-physician dynamic. For example, Harvard Medical School is sponsoring a course co-taught by a nurse and a physician, aimed at nurses and physicians who wish to learn how to use the knowledge and skills of both disciplines to collaboratively teach.
Collaboration creates opportunities
Communication and education are key
Healthcare as a whole must implement interventions that will facilitate collaboration while educating each discipline on patient care challenges and opportunities for improvement. We need to explore and develop technologies that will improve clinical communication and collaboration but will not add to the burnout of alert fatigue.
The time is now and the stakes could not be higher in terms of patient care and nurses' and physicians' well-being.
- Read our blog about alarm and alert fatigue.
- Read our blog about the mandate for technology to be more clinician centric.
- Learn best practices for creating healthcare staffing plans.
- Read HIMSS' paper: "Physician and Nurse Informatics Collaboration Boosts Clinical Practice, Engagement, and Overall Digital Experience"