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Study Reports Poor Communication Among Health Care Workers
Health care advances today are at a much more rapid pace than they were 50 years ago. With all of the changes and detailed intricacies of medical practices, the need for communication is a topic that we all need to improve on. Verbal communication skills have decreased over the years due to forms of electronic communication and this leads to the reason why we need to take an active role in improving and maintaining our communication skills. reported in a study regarding “Poor Communication Among Health Care Workers” and how people avoid confrontation in the workplace, especially, it seems, when health care professionals are demonstrating behavior that could put a patient's health at risk. You can read the complete article below regarding this topic.

In health care, it has been reported that 65% of the time, lack of communication is the root of medical incidences. We need to take an active approach in improving our communication skills to be able to provide a higher standard of care for our patients and clients.

Pedagogy’s author, Donald Wood, has taken that active approach to educating health care providers in improved forms of communication. He has written a class “Communication In Healthcare” to provide communication, in all its varied forms, to show how they play an extremely important part of our everyday life at work and at home. A realization of the many forms of communication that we use daily (some without our knowledge), along with the possible pitfalls involved, will allow nurses to seize upon opportunities to improve communication on a provider-to-provider level as well as on a provider-to-patient level. The methods talked about will definitely improve patient safety and their use will also have a positive impact on patient satisfaction. To view details of the course click on the title above.
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Study Reports Poor Communication Among Health Care Workers
By Christina Orlovsky, senior staff writer

Many people avoid confrontation in the workplace, especially, it seems, health care professionals-even when a coworker is demonstrating behavior that could put a patient's health at risk.

A recent study, co-sponsored by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) and VitalSmarts, a leadership training consulting, found that when it comes to confronting poor work behavior of colleagues, the majority of health care providers are apt to stay silent.

Silence Kills: The Seven Crucial Conversations for Healthcare surveyed 1,700 nurses, physicians, clinical-care staff and hospital administrators regarding seven "crucial conversations" that relate to medical errors, patient safety, quality of care, staff commitment, employee satisfaction, discretionary effort and turnover.

The concerns were grouped into seven areas, including: broken rules, mistakes, lack of support, incompetence, poor teamwork, disrespect and micromanagement.

Findings showed that more than half of all health care workers had witnessed colleagues demonstrating these behaviors, yet fewer than 10 percent of respondents discussed the behaviors with the perpetrators, even though many were aware of the harm the patient could suffer as a result.

In fact, 20 percent of doctors admitted they had seen harm come to a patient as a result of these concerns; 23 percent of nurses said they were thinking of leaving their units because of potentially dangerous work by their coworkers.
The study also showed that those who do speak up see the rewards in doing so. The 10 percent who fell into this category reported better patient outcomes, greater job satisfaction and a stronger commitment toward their job.
Among other findings:

• 93 percent of physicians and 65 percent of nurses and other clinical-care providers work with some people who have trouble following directions.
• 88 percent of physicians and 48 percent of nurses and other providers have colleagues who show poor clinical judgment when making assessments, doing triage, diagnosing, suggesting treatment and getting help.
• 84 percent of physicians and 62 percent of nurses and other clinical-care providers have seen coworkers taking shortcuts that could be dangerous to patients.
• 81 percent of physicians and 53 percent of nurses are concerned about the competence of another provider.

Several of the communication concerns had a greater impact on nurses. For example, 88 percent of nurses reported that they have at least one teammate who gossips or is part of a clique that divides the team; 77 percent of nurses have coworkers who are condescending, insulting or rude; and 33 percent work with others who are verbally abusive-they yell, swear or name call.

"This research validates what our 100,000 constituents have communicated to us as the number one barrier hindering optimal care for patients," said Kathy McCauley, RN, Ph.D., AACN president, who called the study a "wake-up call" about workplace communication.

"Too often, improving workplace communication is seen as a 'soft' issue," McCauley added. "The truth is that we must build environments that support and demand greater candor among staff if we are to make a demonstrable impact on patient safety."

To that end, the AACN released a set of national standards to promote communication among nurses and other health care staff.

According to the AACN Standards for Establishing and Sustaining Healthy Work Environments, the efforts that must be enforced are:

• Skilled communication.
• True collaboration.
• Effective decision-making.
• Appropriate staffing.
• Meaningful recognition.
• Authentic leadership.

"These standards revolve around improving the work environment so nurses can make their optimum contribution," McCauley said.

"Health care is based on humans. Well-meaning, good nurses are going to make mistakes-not because they're bad people, but because there's a system problem that could exist because of lack of collaboration, because their input isn't valued or because they aren't involved in decision making," she added. "We have to create an environment that gets at these problems so they don't happen again. Devising these standards is an important first step."

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