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"It's like a giant game of telephone": Physicians' perceptions of effective communication in the emergency department context

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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1928/13083

"It's like a giant game of telephone": Physicians' perceptions of effective communication in the emergency department context

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Title: "It's like a giant game of telephone": Physicians' perceptions of effective communication in the emergency department context
Author: Dean, Marleah
Advisor(s): Oetzel, John
Committee Member(s): Covarrubias, Patricia
McDermott, Virginia
Sklar, David
Department: University of New Mexico. Dept. of Communication and Journalism
Subject(s): effective communication
emergency department
physicians
patients
LC Subject(s): Communication in medicine
Physician and patient
Hospitals--Emergency services--Social aspects
Interpersonal communication--Social aspects
Degree Level: Masters
Abstract: Despite the growing number of emergency department visits, effective communication between patients and physicians are often overlooked because of the fast- paced nature of the emergency department (ED). As such, we do not know what is seen as effective communication within this particular context. Therefore, the goal of this study was to learn how emergency department physicians define effective communication and identify the barriers and facilitators to communicating in the ED. Seventeen semi-structured, open-ended interviews were conducted with ED physicians. Interviews were recorded and transcribed into a Word document. Data analysis included two steps—the constant comparison method (Lindlof & Taylor, 2002) and the Hymes’ (1974) SPEAKING framework. The findings indicated a definition of effective communication as well as the following five dimensions of effective communication: efficiency, clarity/accuracy, relevance, comprehension, and rapport. Communication is efficient when the desired goals are met in a timely manner without expending too many resources. Communication is clear and accurate when the message’s state of clearness is evident and the state and quality of a message is true, correct, and precise. Communication is relevant when the message is directly pertinent to the discussion at hand. Communication is comprehended when the physician and the patient both understand the information being communicated between each other and are both then able to act on that information, and lastly, communication builds rapport when the physician demonstrates sympathy/empathy, shows concern, and offers reassurance with the patient. Several individual and system barriers were identified for both the individual patient and physician and the system as an environment. Individual and system facilitators were discussed to help address these barriers. Overall, the findings suggest a contradiction in ED physicians’ perceptions of effective communication and demonstrate The University of New Mexico Hospital ED has a culture of its own.
Graduation Date: July 2011
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1928/13083

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