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Is Nursing Perceived as a Professional Partner With Other Disciplines

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All too often healthcare students fail to realize the important role they will play as a member of the healthcare team. During education their focus is to learn as much about their profession and practice before graduation and licensure examination. Exposure to other disciplines may be limited to clinical experience and observation while rotating through various units and specialty areas of practice.

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The breakdown or deficiencies in communication among healthcare professionals, particularly between nurses and doctors, can directly contribute to the destabilization of the environment in which care is provided, and negatively impacts the patient whom care is centered around

Poor communication between health professionals is not only associated with a rise in mortality but with increase length of hospital stay and higher hospital readmission rates. Healthcare professionals need to focus on communication and the facilitation of effective communication and for professional societies to set standards and communicate to members the importance of securing the safety of patients.

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Collaboration in health care is defined as health care professionals assuming complementary roles and cooperatively working together, sharing responsibility for problem-solving and making decisions to formulate and carry out plans for patient care. (Fagin CM. 1992;13(7):354–62

) Collaboration between physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals increases team members’ awareness of each others’ type of knowledge and skills, leading to continued improvement in decisionmaking. (Christensen C, Larson JR. 1993;13:339–46) Effective teams are characterized by trust, respect, and collaboration. Deming8 is one of the greatest proponents of teamwork. Teamwork, he believes, is endemic to a system in which all employees are working for the good of a goal, who have a common aim, and who work together to achieve that aim.

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Ultimately, in order for interprofessional collaboration to take place all health professionals need to be aware of the contributions that each profession brings to the care arena; maintain a mutual respect for each professional’s skill set; and make an earnest attempt to communicate effectively; and seek out continuing educational training opportunities to improve interprofessional collaboration.

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Fagin CM. Collaboration between nurses and physicians: no longer a choice. Nurs Health Care. 1992;13(7):354–62.

Baggs JG, Schmitt MH. Collaboration between nurses and physicians.

Christensen C, Larson JR. Collaborative medical decision making. Med Decis Making. 1993;13:339–46.

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