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What types of obstacles might I face when trying to foster communication and collaboration among my staff?


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According the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Handbook for Patient Safety and Quality, common barriers to inter-professional communication and collaboration include:

  • Personal values and expectations
  • Personality differences
  • Hierarchy
  • Disruptive behavior
  • Culture, generational, and gender differences
  • Fear of loss of professional identity
  • Differences in accountability
  • Complexity of the situation
  • Need for a rapid decision

These provide an opportunity for leaders from both medicine and nursing to encourage development of a cooperative environment, focused on the needs of the patient, rather than a competitive agenda. These changes take time; however, leaders set the tone for success by role modeling and supporting continuous development of skills across the organization, particularly in the area of communication.

-Pamela Hunt, BS, MSN, RN, and Deborah Laughon, RN, BSN, MS, DBA, CCRN

(July 2012)