The worsening state of the nation's nursing shortage has drawn attention to the need for more effective ways to recruit and retain nurses. For this reason, VHA West Coast (a regional division of VHA, Inc., a national network of community-owned hospitals and health care systems) conducted the Nurse-Physician Relationship Survey, targeting nurses, physicians, and executives in a large network of hospitals. VHA designed the survey to assess how these disparate groups viewed nurse-physician relationships, disruptive physician behavior, the institutional response to such behavior, and how such behavior affected nurse satisfaction, morale, and retention.
An analysis of the first 1,200 responses from nurses, physicians, and hospital executives suggests that daily interactions between nurses and physicians strongly influence nurses' morale. All respondents were very concerned with the significance of nurse-physician relationships and the atmosphere they create. And although all respondents saw a direct link between disruptive physician behavior and nurse satisfaction and retention, the groups differed in their beliefs about responsibility, barriers to progress, and potential solutions. The findings suggest that the quality of nurse-physician relationships must be addressed as facilities seek to improve nurse recruitment and retention.
A survey shows that relations with physicians greatly affect nurses' job satisfaction and morale. Disruptive behavior on the part of physicians is a chief issue.
Alan H. Rosenstein is the vice president and medical director of VHA West Coast in Pleasanton, CA. The author wishes to thank Gwen Rosenthal and Ernie Shippey for helping to develop the software template for recording, analyzing, and reporting the results of this survey.