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Enhancing Collaborative Communication of Nurse and Physician Leadership in Two Intensive Care Units

Boyle, Diane K. PhD, RN; Kochinda, Chiemi PhD, RN

JONA: The Journal of Nursing Administration: February 2004 - Volume 34 - Issue 2 - p 60-70

Objective To test an intervention to enhance collaborative communication among nurse and physician leaders (eg, nurse manager, medical director, clinical nurse specialist) in two diverse intensive care units (ICUs).

Background Collaborative communication is associated with positive patient, nurse, and physician outcomes. However, to date, intervention-focused research that seeks to improve collaborative communication is lacking.

Methods A pretest–posttest repeated measures design incorporated baseline data collection, implementation of the intervention over 8 months, and immediate and 6-months-post data collection.

Findings Communication skills of ICU nurse and physician leaders improved significantly. Leaders also reported increased satisfaction with their own communication and leadership skills. In addition, staff nurse and physician perceptions of nursing leadership and problem solving between groups increased. Staff nurses reported lower personal stress (eg, more respect from co-workers, physicians, and managers), even though they perceived significantly more situational stress (eg, less staffing and time).

Conclusion Study findings provide evidence that nurse–physician collaborative communication can be improved.

Authors’ affiliations: Associate Professor (Dr Boyle), University of Kansas School of Nursing, Kansas City; Associate Director of Nursing (Dr Kochinda), University Hospital, University of Ryukyus, Okinawa, Japan.

Corresponding author: Dr Boyle, Mail Stop 4043, University of Kansas School of Nursing, 3901 Rainbow Blvd., Kansas City, KS 66160-7502 (

This study was funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research, National Institutes of Health, No. R15 NR04027.

© 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.