A Professional and Unlicensed Workforce in Acute Care Settings: Perceptions of Teamwork and Communication

Saturday, 16 November 2013: 3:15 PM

Lanell M. Bellury, PhD, BSN, MN, RN, AOCNS, OCN1
Kathie A. Aduddell, EdD, MSN, BSN, RN2
Helen F. Hodges, RN, PhD1
Amanda Camp, ADN, BSN, RN3
(1)Georgia Baptist College of Nursing, Mercer University, Atlanta, GA
(2)Wellstar College of Health and Human Services/School of Nursing, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA
(3)Nursing Services/Clinical Resource Services, Saint Joseph's Hospital Atlanta, Atlanta, GA

Learning Objective 1: Discuss communication and teamwork issues common in acute care settings.

Learning Objective 2: Identify four themes that characterize the perceptions of licensed and unlicensed nursing personnel related to teamwork, communication, and patient care.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions of professional and unlicensed assistive personnel (UAP) in the nursing workforce related to communication and teamwork. Specifically, this study addressed two research questions: 1. What are the experiences of professional and UAP nursing staff related to barriers to communication and delegation? 2. What are the barriers to teamwork between professional and UAP nursing staff?              

Methods: A qualitative, descriptive design was used to examine survey and focus group data in a suburban community hospital. An interview protocol was developed. Human subject protection was ensured. UAPs (N=33) participated in focus groups which were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. RNs (N=18) responded to a short online survey with similar open-ended questions.

Analysis: Thematic content analysis and comparative analysis of the deidentified data occured in stages. The research team read and coded the data individually using margin notation. Then through an iterative process of team meetings and detailed discussions over a period of several months, analytic consensus was acheived.

Results: The four overarching themes identified were staffing, teamwork, communication, and value/respect. Additional subthemes were also identified.

Implications of Nursing Practice: An effective, safe, and efficient nursing workforce that utilizes both licensed professional nurses and UAPs must address the communication and teamwork issues that have been noted consistently by UAPs, nurses, nursing leaders, and nursing organizations. An attempt to understand the barriers must precede interventions that might be effective in reducing of these barriers.