Updated: Aug 26, 2022
I have come across many nurses who have been frustrated in dealing with physicians.
Many times I get the sense that these nurses are thinking, “What do you ‘crazy’ physicians want to hear because you are driving me up the walls?”
I enjoy working with nurses on medical teams. Even when we don’t have a defined “team,” we know that the nurse and the physician have strong roles in making sure that the treatment plan is carried out.
I like to give a physician’s perspective on this teamwork effort.
I realize that each person who takes care of patients may have a different perspective on how teamwork and communication should occur. We usually all want a similar outcome: patient safety is a top priority, and we want the patient to receive excellent care.
When I think about what doctors want to hear, I think that nurses would also like a physician’s perspective. Nurses are also speaking to the challenge of maintaining good teamwork. Nurses want to be recognized as an integral part of the wellness team.
Other times nurses might feel a bit intimidated when they are communicating with physicians. Some doctors carry a certain reputation for being a bit rough in conversations. Sometimes this apprehension can affect the timeliness in which information is transferred to a physician.
As a human being and as a physician, I recognize the important role that nurses play on the care team. I usually call the nurse before I go into a patient’s room to get that nurse’s perspective.
When I contemplate that question of what doctors want to hear, I also think about how I speak to my physician colleagues.
I have given talks to many new nurse graduates, and I have enjoyed telling them about the vulnerabilities that we have as physicians. We need the help of nurses, and we need the help of everyone on the wellness team. I talk to new nurses with enthusiasm, and I also give them some basic techniques to improve their communication in general.
I have created a tool that will help with this communication. Just as you would not try to build a house with only a hammer, you need access to a wonderful toolbox of resources to get the job done.
I enjoy telling nurses what I like to use specifically when I talk to physicians. Whether it’s 2 o’clock in the morning, or the doctor is sleepy or even if that doctor is steaming mad, I let nurses know how to cut to the chase– how to get through the conversation. I teach nurses how to deal with Happy, Grumpy, Sleepy and even Doc.
I initially thought that new nurse graduates would be the only ones who needed this information. But I have found many experienced nurses, some with 30-plus-years’ experience, who are curious about what doctors want to hear.
One of the tools I use is I-C-FAR®, a unique tool that I created to help nurses get inside the mind of physicians. It’s a tool that will give nurses the perspective on how doctors want to hear patient updates. See the link above to get your copy of my comprehensive I-C-FAR® Guide.
I have also created a dynamic 60-minute seminar that teaches nurses how to leverage their conversations with physicians so the communication is more efficient and less stressful. Ultimately I look forward to patients witnessing teamwork excellence.