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Communication effectiveness within a hospital system comparing perceived subjective communication with observed objective communication Modrijan, Marjeta Marija

Abstract

This study involves an examination of hospital personnel's self-perceived ability to communicate with each other. In the process of pursuing this investigation, information on the perceived and observed ability to communicate was gathered to allow comparisons. The purpose of the study was to add to the existing body of knowledge regarding perception and communication in a hospital organization. The study was planned to test the following hypothesis: There is no significant difference between hospital personnel's self ratings of their communication effectiveness as measured by means of an Interstaff Communication Questionnaire, and their observed communication act scores which were obtained through Bales' Interaction Process Analysis. Data on the self-perception of hospital personnel's ability to communicate was secured by means of a questionnaire. Data on the observed effectiveness of communication came from another researcher, (McGill) who utilized Bales' Interaction Process Analysis. Both studies were conducted simultaneously on the same population. The study population included 165 members of different staff categories who were considered major communicators within the hospital organization. Analysis of data included frequency tables converted into relative values expressed in percentages. These results were depicted in bar graphs to facilitate comparison between the perceived and observed ability to communicate. The findings of the study showed that no hospital staff group is able to accurately access or evaluate its own communication effectiveness. Thus, the findings fail to support the hypothesis of the study. The study recommends that health team members progress in their understandings of what constitutes accurate perception and effective communication. Furthermore, since 40-50% of some categories of hospital staff think that no communication takes place, further investigation of this area of health team communication should be initiated.

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