I enjoy reading all aspects of AJN, from the news and facts to the opinion pieces, and discussing these with my husband, who is also a nurse. Lately, through my work in a suburban teaching hospital, I've come to appreciate the importance of increasing interdisciplinary understanding in health care.
Do physicians understand what nurses do, I often wonder? We assume that we understand each other's roles, but, as a new batch of young physicians start their residencies each year, it's evident that this assumption isn't always true.
Members of each health discipline should be required to take at least one class during their training in which they learn about the work of other clinicians.
Physicians, RNs, pharmacists, respiratory and physical therapists, and dieticians all need to better understand the scope of practice and responsibilities of the other providers they work with.
The Joint Commission's National Patient Safety Goals call for improved communication among caregivers (for more information on these goals, visit www.jointcommission.org/standards_information/npsgs.aspx).
Increasing interdisciplinary understanding will create a more unified care team, which will lead to better communication and more effective delivery of patient care in the hospital setting, benefiting providers and patients alike.
Adina J. Madra, MS, RN, CPN
Palo Alto, CA