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Doctors' traits perceived by Japanese nurses as communication barriers: a questionnaire survey

Doctors' traits perceived by Japanese nurses as communication barriers: a questionnaire survey

International Journal of Nursing Studies 45(5): 740-749

Studies addressing nurses' traits to improve the quality of nurse-physician communication exist, whereas only a few studies exploring physicians' traits as communication barriers are conducted. The purpose of this research is to determine what types of physicians do nurses find difficult to communicate with. To this end, we conducted a pilot study, consisting of semi-structured interviews, with nine nurses. A questionnaire survey was then conducted to test the generalizability of the interviewees' opinions about physician traits that impede effective nurse-physician communication. A within-respondent factorial design was employed. Each respondent answered questions about two physicians whom she or he has found most difficult or easiest to communicate with. The order of physician type (easy vs. difficult) was counterbalanced. The main study, a questionnaire survey, was administered at four Japanese hospitals. Participants were 310 nurses. The questionnaires were mailed to the person in charge of each hospital. The questionnaires were handed to the nurses by the person in charge. Three out of the four hospitals reported that a majority of their nurses answered the questionnaires. The questionnaire asked respondents to evaluate how well various statements (e.g., Is the doctor moody?) fit a particular physician whom she or he has found most difficult or easiest to communicate with. A series of repeated-measures ANOVAs revealed that every statement was judged as fitting the description of doctors they found difficult better than that of doctors they found easy to talk to. An exploratory cluster analysis was conducted and it revealed that difficult characteristics of physicians can be divided into three subtypes. The questionnaire survey confirmed that opinions provided by interviewees in the pilot study were widely shared by other Japanese nurses. The study revealed that communication barriers between nurses and physicians are caused by the physicians' reluctance to communicate with nurses and the doctors' emotional difficulties.

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Accession: 048820625

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PMID: 17280673

DOI: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2006.12.007

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