In Search of the Team Player

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media , February 13, 2012
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"I think it's an underreported thing, no question," says Dacey. "The truth is almost always the doc is not willing to listen to the nurse's input. The nurse may be right or wrong, but why won't [the doctor] listen? A lot of it is ego. I'm sure if you talked to the nurses, they would switch those percentages, and 88% would say it's common."

Dacey says, however, that more nurses are becoming assertive related to those issues, and physicians can "lose privileges and get sanctioned" by a medical board.

Physician and nurse relations are often dependent on where they work in the hospital, Dacey says. While ICUs or emergency departments may generate team concepts, a physician working on a medical floor "may feel that I'm going to be there for 20 minutes, and I don't have to take the heat" and start being abusive, Dacey says.

"Of course," he adds, "any disrespect should not be tolerated. Nurses are our partners."

Physicians say they believe that healthcare can't solve its own problems, with 60% saying there is too much self-interest among stakeholders.

"There is a lack of alignment amongst physicians, hospitals, insurance companies," Dacey says. "Each has traditionally had its own set of interests that were at odds with one another." Referring to job satisfaction, 24% of physicians said they were very satisfied and 49% satisfied, while 12% said they were dissatisfied and 1% very dissatisfied.

"Obviously, we would like more of our colleagues to be very satisfied," Dacey says. "I'm surprised that the numbers are not worse. It speaks to the real benefits of being able to make a difference in people's lives that even overcomes the paperwork, malpractice, and others from job satisfaction."

This article appears in the February 2012 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.

Joe Cantlupe is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media Online.
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