The Nurse/Physician Role Perceptions Study, conducted by the Nursing Research Council in 2004, indicated opportunities for nurses and physicians to improve their interdisciplinary communication. The Nursing Education Council has sponsored several Collaborative Grand Rounds programs to give nurses and physicians the opportunity to co-present and learn together. Past programs have addressed Trauma, Bariatric Surgery, Sepsis, and other clinical topics.
With a large body of evidence correlating collaborative physician-nurse relationships with improved clinical outcomes, the October 2005 Grand Rounds addressed that very topic. Kate McDonald (RN, Cardiac Telemetry Unit) and Libby Walentowski (RN, Cardiac Telemetry Unit) co-presented with Paul Luetmer (MD, Cardiovascular Associates) to present their respective points of view on the nurse-physician relationship. The multidisciplinary audience also learned about the importance of excellent communication and the impact it has on patient care.
On February 22, 2006, the Education Council partnered with Educational Services to host Susanne Gaddis, a national speaker who is recognized as “the communication doctor.” One hundred eighteen multidisciplinary clinicians attended Susanne’s presentation “Communication That Works: Creating a Healthy Culture of Communication,” and the evaluations were excellent. Areas that Susanne discussed included ego-boosting phrases; how to avoid phrases that demoralize and create stress; heightened awareness regarding interpersonal, direct, indirect and non-verbal communication; and much more.
Primed by these educational programs, the Education Council is now implementing the SBAR system, an evidence based guide for interdisciplinary communication. By discussing the Situation, Background information, and the nurse’s Assessment and Recommendations, the communication can be concise, complete, and effective in addressing patient needs.
Through the evolution of hospital services in the Central Wisconsin area, from Wausau’s St. Mary’s Hospital and Memorial Hospital, through the combined Wausau Hospital Center and Community Health Care, and now to Aspirus Wausau Hospital, there has long been a tradition of quality health care in Wausau. Through the many years I have been in practice, I have seen the attitudes of the physician staff and the nursing staff wax and wane. In recent years however, I have observed not only a greater than ever commitment to knowledge and skill, but an outstanding pride in the abilities of the nursing staff.
This pride is seen not only among the nurses themselves, but also among the physicians with whom they work so closely. Whether Magnet status is a result of this pride, or the pride is a result of Magnet status is of no consequence. The nursing staff at our hospital is among the best anywhere.
At Aspirus Wausau Hospital, knowledge, skill, experience, and a positive attitude come together to the great advantage of our families, friends, and neighbors who seek medical care at this outstanding community hospital.
Thank you to all the nursing staff.
J. Garry Sack, MD
Past President of the Aspirus Wausau Hospital Medical Staff