Hello Doctor! Improving communication in the ED

I've brought up before the importance of communication in the ED, and in the latest EMA, they come back to the importance of communication between doctors and nurses in the ED. We often address inter-professional communication in terms of team management in the crisis situation, but this article supplies simple tips for doctors and nurses on how to make the most of the team relationship. And we all know emergency clinicians like to keep things simple.


For Doctors

  1. Introduce yourself
  2. Talk to the nurse before you assess the patient (you'll get more info)
  3. Everyone learns - point out good learning to all your colleagues, doctor and nurse alike, explain ECGs, xrays and interesting clinical findings
  4. Explain your orders - give it context and reasons for ordering
  5. Include nurses in reassessment and handover

For Nurses

  1. Introduce yourself
  2. Embrace new learners - new residents and students can be overwhelmed by the furore of the average day in ED (and you can mould them like putty in your hand)
  3. Be direct and clear - don't skirt the issue, have frank discussion, clearly state what you want to say (remember, emergency doctors have short attention spans)
  4. Seek clarification - if communications go awry or there is a misunderstanding, clarify and correct
  5. Engage, partner and teach - education is a two-way process between doctors and nurses; we all have things to learn from each other


As always, it boils down to the basics: say #hellomynameis, listen to each other, be clear in your communication and learn from each other. Easy.

Go on, it's only a short article, give it a read.



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