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Interprofessional misperceptions among physicians and nurses in long-term care facilities Roskam, Albertus Gustaaf

Abstract

Today's comprehensive system of health care delivery requires knowledge and skills of physicians and nurses that neither profession can provide without collaboration from the other. Without this interprofessional collaboration, patient care will suffer from fragmentation, resulting in confusion and apprehension on the part of the patient. It appears that many benefits can be gained from appropriate collaborative team work between physicians and nurses. A systematic review of the literature shows that collaboration has led to improved patient outcomes such as decreased morbidity and mortality, and increased patient satisfaction. An increase in job satisfaction, as well as a decrease in health care costs are indicated in the literature as additional benefits. Unfortunately, many barriers can stand in the way of the development of the realization of the collaborative team concept and its many potential benefits. Interprofessional misperceptions has been indicated in the literature as a barrier. It has been suggested that misperceptions can seriously interfere with any collaborative effort between health professionals. Currently there is no research available on the levels of interprofessional misperceptions among the physicians and the nurses in long-term care facilities. To partially fill this void, this exploratory study has examined the interprofessional misperceptions among physicians and nurses in 13 long-term care facilities in Vancouver, British Columbia. For the purpose of this study interprofessional misperception has been defined as the difference between one professional's perception on how the other professional would view an issue, and the viewpoint actually expressed by the other professional on the same issue. The interpersonal perception method has been used as the conceptual framework for the study. A survey has been conducted among 28 physicians and 66 nurses. They volunteered to fill out a questionnaire called the Interprofessional Perception Scale, which has provided some insight into the subjects' misperceptions. Only small degrees of misperceptions were found among the two professions. In fact, the highest degree of misperception among 15 issues was still only 36%, and was found among the nurses regarding physicians' views on whether nurses expect too much of the physicians. It was also found that significant numbers of physicians and nurses perceived that they have difficulties with the issues of professional territoriality, the under-utilization of their professional capabilities, and their lack of professional autonomy. Thus, despite the failure to find substantial interprofessional misperception, the findings of the study suggest that there are issues between the physicians and the nurses in long-term care facilities that could be barriers to collaboration. There is a need for both professions to work toward an improved form of collaborative team work. To this end, several strategies for change are suggested as part of this study.

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