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Nurse-Physician Leadership: Insights Into Interprofessional Collaboration

Clark, Rebecca Culver PhD, RN; Greenawald, Mark MD, FAAFP

Journal of Nursing Administration: December 2013 - Volume 43 - Issue 12 - p 653–659
doi: 10.1097/NNA.0000000000000007

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this qualitative research study was to identify themes characterizing collaboration from the perspectives of nurses and physicians serving in complementary leadership roles in intensive and progressive care hospital units.

BACKGROUND: Failures of communication are reported as a major cause of sentinel events. Most frequently, communication breakdown occurs between physicians and nurses.

METHODS: In this qualitative research study, taped interviews with nursing and medical unit directors (physicians) were analyzed for themes regarding factors influencing collaboration.

RESULTS: Themes identified included the impact of organizational support, shared expectations, relationships, and communication.

CONCLUSIONS: Findings of this study support the need for organizations and professionals to facilitate deliberate, structured interprofessional communication to advance collaboration between nurses and physicians.

Supplemental Digital Content is available in the text.

Author Affiliations: Senior Director, Nursing Research and Evidence-based Practice (Dr Clark); Vice Chair, Academic Affairs, Department of Family and Community Medicine (Dr Greenawald), Carilion Clinic, Roanoke, Virginia.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Correspondence: Dr Clark, Carilion Roanoke Memorial, 1906 Belleview, Roanoke, VA 24014 (

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© 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins