Free «Impact of Nurse-Physician Conflict on Patient Outcomes» Essay Paper

Impact of Nurse-Physician Conflict on Patient Outcomes

Clinical Question

Nurses and physicians may encounter an ethical conflict when their personal values do not coincide with the professional duties and the policies of the healthcare facility. The main source of this conflict is the distribution of resources within the organization (Gaudine et al., 2011b, p.756). The reduction of health care resources began in the 1990s, and it has led to the decrease of a healthcare system. As a result, organizations cannot provide care of the highest quality to each patient (Shen et al., 2011, p.349). At the same time, the expectations of the public and healthcare specialists have been raising. Technological and pharmacological innovation also intensifies the tension between the organizations, healthcare staff, and patients. In fact, the organizations have to control all expenses carefully to avoid debts. This situation clearly contradicts professional values of nurses and physicians who are willing to provide their patients with good care. They also may have different opinions about the issue which causes conflict. The negative outcomes of this conflict result in the lack of trust between the healthcare professionals and patients (Lyndon et al., 2011, p.91). Successful communication and collaboration of all the sides of a conflict require outstanding listening skills, significant administrative support, and avoidance of the past stereotypes and bureaucracy.

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Researchers found that the problem is significant. Thus, the study of Norwegian physicians reveals that two-thirds of physicians experience the conflicts because of the waiting lists for treatment and limited time for patient’s care (Gaudine et al., 2011b, p.756). Besides, this study also shows that a half of physicians are in ethical conflict because stronger patients receive more priorities than the weaker or older ones. Another study concludes that forty percent of physician-patient meetings consists of the conflicts (Gaudine et al., 2011b, p.756). Twenty percent of these conflicts are caused by the reasoning of the healthcare system (Gaudine et al., 2011b, p.756). Therefore, the studies prove that healthcare cuts have led to the ethical conflicts and the decrease of healthcare quality. 

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PICOT Question

How does the presence of nurse-physician conflict if compared to the situation of its absence influence the results of patients’ stay in the healthcare facilities?

The purpose of the paper is to determine the effects of nurse-physician conflict on a patient.

Level of Evidence

The type of question is etiological which could be solved by the qualitative study.

Search Strategy

The major topic of the paper is a nurse-physician conflict. Therefore, the search strategy was to find the articles that describe issues experienced by these two groups of healthcare professionals. However, most of the articles focus on the specific areas and groups of the patients, nurses, or physicians. None was chosen for the research paper before. The nature of a conflict between nurses and physicians also requires a long-term searching process because most of the articles focus on the communication between two professions. However, the objective of the paper is to find the impact of the ethical conflict which involves the clash of values. There is a small number of articles related to these issues. However, the research in the library and with Google Scholar allowed finding two articles which contain answers to the raised question. First, other materials were analyzed, but it was decided to choose the articles that have the analysis of conflicts for both nurses and physicians. Another criterion is a geographic location. The search of articles was limited to Northern America because the US and Canada have similar problems in the healthcare system that lead to the appearance of nurse-physician conflict. Therefore, the reasonable amount of resources was received by the definitions of the specific terms, for example, a nurse-physician conflict, and the patient outcomes. Later, it was decided to focus only on the nature of the nurse-physician conflict to reduce the number of articles. However, the articles about the conflict also contain the analysis of effects of this issue, so it is unreasonable to use sources which have “impact on patient outcomes” in the title.

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The most relevant and useful articles are “Clinical ethical conflicts of nurses and physicians” and “Ethical conflicts with hospitals: the perspective of nurses and physicians.” They both are written by the same group of researchers who used the same method. Thus, Alice Gaudine and her colleagues interviewed thirty-four nurses, ten nurse managers, and thirty-one physicians in four Canadian hospitals. This fact allowed receiving enough information for answering the clinical question.

The first article explores the creations of the ethical conflicts that nurses and physicians experience at their work. The researchers interviewed a group of healthcare professionals and determined the themes of ethical conflicts with organizations for both professions. Thus, nurses and physicians argue on the lack of respect to them from the organization, the effects of limited resources, and the quality of patient care. There is also the disagreement on hospitals’ policies, the lack of attention on other issues, and limited access to the hospital facilities (Gaudine et al., 2011a). Besides, nurses have conflict on the unwillingness of organizations to spend resources on their professional development. Physicians report on the inadequate preventive services. This list of ethical conflicts is helpful because it serves as a foundation for a further research about the influence of nurse-physician conflict on patients. In particularly, careful examination of each theme will help to make conclusions about the quality of patient care. For example, lack of attention towards the preventive services clearly means that patient have to deal with a greater number of diseases. Unwillingness of organizations to invest in professional development of their nurses means that patient may receive healthcare of lower quality. Healthcare system is experiencing constant changes due to technological and pharmacological advances. Thus, nurses should regularly improve their skills, abilities, and knowledge.

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The second article is very similar to the first one, but it reveals other themes of ethical conflict. Thus, Alice Gaudine and her collages (2011b) found that both nurses and physicians have disagreements with a hospital about the treatment options, disrespect to a patient’s desires, insufficient quality of end-of-life and preventive care, nurse and physician’s incompetence. The article also contains the themes encountered only by physicians. The second article also focuses on the themes of conflicts, but the range of themes is slightly different. Therefore, analyzing both articles allows to fully understand the reasons for ethical conflict experienced by nurse and physicians. This data is necessary for careful analysis of all effects of nurse-physician conflict on the medical treatment.

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Healthcare cuts have forced organizations to reduce the use of resources. As a result, the quality of healthcare is affected. Nurses and physicians try to provide the best care possible to their patients, but they experience ethical conflicts when the organization does not allow them doing this. The main purpose of the research paper is to identify the impact of nurse-physician conflict on the patients. The type of question asked is etiological. The best way to answer the question is to conduct a qualitative research. The main strategy is to find the articles that analyze the nature of the nurse-physician conflict. Google Scholar and library archives were used to select two articles, which respond to the purpose of the research paper. These articles have careful research on different themes of ethical conflict, which is extremely helpful for a further study of effects of this issue on the patients.

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