Aim To compare two models of care on nurses’ perception of interdisciplinary communication in general medical and surgical wards.
Background Effective interdisciplinary collaboration remains the cornerstone of efficient and successful functioning of health care teams and contributes substantially to patient safety.
Methods In May 2007, participants were recruited from a tertiary teaching hospital in Australia. The multifaceted Shared Care in Nursing (SCN) model of nursing care involved team work, leadership and professional development. In the Patient Allocation (PA) model one nurse was responsible for the care of a discrete group of patients. Differences in interdisciplinary communication were assessed at the 6-month follow-up.
Results Completed questionnaires were returned by 125 participants. At the 6-month follow-up, there was a significant reduction in scores in the SCN group in the subscales relating to communication openness (P = 0.03) and communication accuracy (P = 0.02) when compared with baseline values. There were no significant differences in the two groups at the 6-month follow-up in any of the other subscales.
Conclusions There is a need for effective training programmes to assist nurses in working together within a nursing team and an interdisciplinary ward team. The SCN and the PA models of care have been found by nurses to support most aspects of interdisciplinary and intradisciplinary communication. The applicability of both models of care to wards with a varying skill mix of nurses is suggested. Further studies of larger samples with varying compositions of skill mix and varying models of care are required.
Implications for nursing management Nurse managers can use varying models of care to support interdisciplinary communication and enhance patient safety.