Nurses’ Perception of Nurse-physician Communication: A Questionnaire-based Study in Iran

Document Type: Research Paper

Authors

1 Department of Health Services, School of Health, Hormozgan University of Medical Sciences, Bandar Abbas, Iran

2 Department of Health Education, School of Medical Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran

3 Department of Public Health, School of Health, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Hamadan, Iran

Abstract

Background and Objectives: Effective nurse-physician communication is essential for provision of high quality clinical care. Research into nurse-physician communication is a new field in Iran, and the importance of the issue calls for further investigation. In response to this necessity, this study aimed to assess nurses’ perception of nurse-physician communication in teaching hospitals affiliated with Hormozgan University of Medical Sciences, situated in Bandar Abbas, at the shore of the Persian Gulf. Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 155 nurses were invited to complete the Persian version of the nurse-physician communication questionnaire, originally developed by Schmidt and Svarstad [Soc Sci Med 2002, 54:1767-1777.] The questionnaire comprises 18 items related to four dimensions of the construct, including Frustration with Interaction, Mutual Understanding, Openness, and Relevance and Satisfaction. One hundred and thirty valid questionnaires were returned and used for data analysis (response rate = 83.8%). Data were summarized using descriptive statistics, and t test and ANOVA were used to compare the mean scores between demographic groups. Data were analyzed using SPSS Version 13 Software. P < 0.05 was considered as statistically significant. Findings: Nurse-physician communication scored marginally higher than mid-level (53.8%). The dimensions of nurse-physician communication (sub-scales) were rated as follows: Frustration with Interaction: 77%; Mutual Understanding 65%; Openness: 47%, and Relevance and Satisfaction: 42%. Hence, the two latter dimensions can be considered as the prime points of focus for interventions, based on both absolute and relative ratings. In comparison with their male counterparts female nurses perceived their communication with physicians to be more positive (P = 0.017). Nurses with professional work experience more than 20 years had a better perception of nurse-physician communication relative to other work experience groups (P < 0.01). No significant difference in perception of nurse-physician communication was identified between different educational and age groups. Conclusions: Within the limitations of the study, this quantitative evaluation of nursae-physician communication in Iran does not represent a satisfactory outlook. Survey results indicate the need for large-scale and in-depth studies to determine the nationwide situation of this important health care issue.

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