Teamwork between physicians and nurses has a positive association with patient satisfaction and outcomes, but perceptions of physician-nurse teamwork are often suboptimal.
To improve nurse-physician teamwork in a general medicine inpatient teaching unit by increasing face-to-face communication through interprofessional bedside rounds.
From July 2013 through October 2013, physicians (attendings and residents) and nurses from four general medicine teams in a single nursing unit participated in bedside rounding, which involved the inclusion of nurses in morning rounds with the medicine teams at the patients' bedside. Based on stakeholder analysis and feedback, a checklist for key patient care issues was created and utilized during bedside rounds.
To assess the effect of bedside rounding on nurse-physician teamwork, a survey of selected items from the Safety Attitudes Questionnaire (SAQ) was administered to participants before and after the implementation of bedside rounds. The number of pages to the general medicine teams was also measured as a marker of physician-nurse communication.
Participation rate in bedside rounds across the four medicine teams was 58%. SAQ response rates for attendings, residents, and nurses were 36/36 (100%), 73/73 (100%), and 32/73 (44%) prior to implementation of bedside rounding and 36 attendings (100%), 72 residents (100%), and 14 (19%) nurses after the implementation of bedside rounding, respectively. Prior to bedside rounding, nurses provided lower teamwork ratings (percent agree) than residents and attendings on all SAQ items; but after the intervention, the difference remained significant only on SAQ item 2 ("In this clinical area, it is not difficult to speak up if I perceive a problem with patient care", 64% for nurses vs 79% for residents vs 94% for attendings, P=0.02). Also, resident responses improved on SAQ item 1 ("Nurse input is well received in this area", 62% vs 82%, P=0.01).
Increasing face-to-face communication through interprofessional bedside rounding can improve the perceptions of nurse-physician teamwork, particularly among residents and nurses.