Scoping Review of Interprofessional Communication

Saturday, 16 November 2013: 3:35 PM

Rebecca Sisk, PhD, RN, CNE
MSN Online Program, Chamberlain College of Nursing, Downers' Grove, IL

Learning Objective 1: Describe the research related to inter-professional communication in health care.

Learning Objective 2: Identify possible models for investigating inter-professional communication in health care.

According to the Institute of Medicine’s 2010 report on the future of nursing, inter-professional collaboration is necessary to provide safe, effective health care. Furthermore, functioning within inter-professional teams is one of the Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN) core competencies. Communication is an important component of such collaboration. Several articles have described poor inter-professional communication in health care systems but few true experiments have been conducted in either practice or educational settings. A scoping review was used to explore the extent of research available on inter-professional communication.  The search question used in this scoping review was, “What is the nature of research on inter-professional communication in work teams that include nursing?” The ultimate purpose is to identify factors and outcomes that can be investigated in future studies designed to improve inter-professional communication in health care. The Academic Search Compete, CINAHL, Health Source, Education Research Complete, and MEDLINE databases were searched in EBSCOhost for peer-reviewed articles using the terms “inter-professional communication” and “nurse or nursing” and publication dates 2008-2013. Forty-one articles were found; of these 24 were relevant to the question. A similar search in the ProQuest Nursing and Allied Health Source database yielded 24 articles. After eliminating duplicates, six of these were relevant to the question. Altogether, only three experimental studies were found; one was a randomized controlled trial. The remaining articles were descriptions of inter-professional communication challenges in healthcare or of program evaluations designed to resolve such challenges. Barriers to inter-professional communication were identified, such as understanding of the culture, values, and roles of other health professions; traditional gender roles among health professionals; varied views of patient needs; varied communication styles; and resistance to change. Inter-professional communication facilitators identified were a commitment by all professionals to enhanced communication and administrative support. Possible models for future research were identified.