Communication

There are many factors that make effective communication in the healthcare system challenging. For starters, healthcare professionals tend to work independently, even though we consider ourselves as part of a group. As a result, we often have our own understanding of what a patient needs. The hierarchical structure of MD-EMT-Nurse relationship, which has been historically based on education and gender, is also a leading factor in conflicts and lack of collaboration.  Differences in education and training are another factor that can lead to a lack of communication. Doctors get no education in working with healthcare staff and vice versa, but they are put in a highly stressful environment and expected to work together well. So, how can one change all this and create a culture that supports communication and team collaboration? Here are a few simple steps that can encourage doctors, nurses and EMTs to communicate more effectively with each other? One of the most important steps in establishing a communication culture is the willingness to address the situation. More often than not, EMTs don’t speak assertively, afraid that they will come across as rude. But, speaking your mind is essential not only to your patient’s well-being but your professional success as an effective EMT, as well.Being right isn’t anywhere near as important as being smart: As a rule healthcare professionals value familiarity more than formality. That means creating an environment where doctors and nurses can question each other’s decision-making without feeling intimated or fearing a negative outcome.Leaders who don’t listen will eventually be surrounded by people with nothing to say: By establishing a culture of respect, trust, accountability, open communication, and shared decision-making, we can minimize the risk of error. Think about it this away. Even the best of us can make a mistake (irrespective of title). By providing constructive feedback and by being able to question medical decisions in a safe environment, we can reduce potential errors and improve every aspect of patient care. When underlying cause is the question, collaboration is the answer: We need to understand that conflicts and differences of opinions are inevitable in a setting where there’s so much professional diversity. Instead of rejecting someone’s suggestion instantly, take a second to analyze their point of view. You might be surprised to discover a fresh insight or solution to a problem. Healthcare professionals need to work constantly to improve their communication skills and foster an environment that supports collaboration.

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