There is a dearth of research on successful interventions to improve nurse-physician communication (NPC). An important step is identifying what matters to bedside nurses and their perceptions of effective NPC communications and actions.


We conducted three focus groups with a total of 19 medical unit nurses across two hospitals in one academic medical center in the United States. Using a convenience sampling strategy, five to eight nurses voluntarily participated in each focus group. The recording was transcribed verbatim and two independent coders performed coding and resolved any discrepancies in codes. Qualitative content analysis was pursued to identify themes and associated quotes.


The presence of direct communication between physicians and nurses was identified as the first theme and perceived by nurses as very important. Additional themes related to physician communication and attributes emerged including collegiality and respect (e.g., engaging nurses as partners in patient care), attentiveness and responsiveness (e.g., listening carefully and addressing concerns), and directness and support (e.g., backing nurses up in difficult situations). Effective NPC is further facilitated by organizational structure, relationship development separate from patient care, and consistent/timely use of technology.


Hospital bedside nurses provided valuable insight into improved physician communication and what attributes contribute to more effective NPC. Most importantly, they emphasized the significance of physicians in supporting them with difficult patients.

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Published in Cureus, v. 14, no. 5, p.25304 .

© Kato et al. 2022 This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License CC-BY 4.0 which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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