Importance of Communication Between Doctors and Nurses

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The Importance of Effective Communication between Doctors and Nurses during End-of-Life Care in the Intensive Care Unit

End-of-life care, as defined by the U.S. National Institute on Aging, is the term used to describe the support and medical care given during the time surrounding death. The Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is a specialty area that cares for critically-ill patients who are facing life-threatening problems. The goal of the ICU is to help patients and their families get through this difficult stage using advance medical interventions and continuous emotional support. But sometimes, patients may not recover and death can be imminent. ICU nurses are the first ones to notice when a patient’s condition is not improving despite all the interventions. Oftentimes, some doctors will continue treatments and will not yet discuss the poor prognosis either with patients or their families.


When I experience the challenge of dealing with the end-of-life issues, I always wonder how we can all work together and communicate better to improve the dilemma. In this research, I will be looking for answers to the following clinical questions:

1. Why effective communication is important between doctors and nurses in the ICU.

2. How communicating effectively can relate to better patient outcomes, including their families during the end-of-life care.

I am hoping to find solutions to these problems that I can use in my nursing practice.

Background of the Problem

As I personally observed in our ICU, ineffective communication between doctors and nurses can affect the delivery of care. Unclear communication during the end-of-life care in the ICU can raise ethical questions and pose a challenge to those who are involved. Incons...

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...arch are to gain more knowledge and apply the solutions that I will find from evidenced based practice to my own. Identifying the barriers to effective communication and finding ways to overcome them can help improve the gap. As a critical care nurse, I have to provide exceptional patient care to sustain life, but must also accept the circumstances when a patient’s death is inevitable. I will bring the information that I will discover to my place of work, hoping that we can learn from it for the benefits of the population that we serve. The notion that the ICU is a known place for prolonging life and delaying death will find its essence if doctors and nurses will collaborate and communicate, effectively. When communication needs are met, there will be increase in trust and satisfaction not only for patients and their families, but also for those who provide care.
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