Satisfaction of Intensive Care Unit Nurses With Nurse-Physician Communication

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The objective of this study was to determine if specific communication elements contribute to nurses' satisfaction with communication.


Little research has focused on communication satisfaction, which may be linked to overall communication effectiveness, job satisfaction, and turnover intentions.


Using a nonexperimental, descriptive design, all nurses (N = 866) who worked in 25 intensive care units located in 8 hospitals in Southeast Michigan were anonymously surveyed on their perceptions of registered nurse/doctor of medicine communication and satisfaction with communication.


There were 407 usable surveys. Nurses were more satisfied with open, accurate, and understanding communication (R2 = 0.66). Years of experience in intensive care unit and satisfaction with communication were inversely related (r = −0.10, P = .04). Nurses preferred communicating with attending-level physicians (r = 0.12, P = .02) than with first year residents (r = −0.21, P < .001).


Although touted as a patient safety tool, the timeliness of communication was not associated with communication satisfaction. Nurses are more satisfied with understanding, open, and accurate communication, especially with attending-level physicians.

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