Leveraging the vantage point - exploring nurses' perception of residents' communication skills: A mixed-methods study

Document Type



School of Nursing and Midwifery, Pakistan; Community Health Sciences; Surgery; Medical College Pakistan; General Surgery


Introduction: Effective communication is key to a successful patient-doctor interaction and improved healthcare outcomes. However, communication skills training in residency is often subpar, leading to inadequate patient-physician communication. There is a dearth of studies exploring the observations of nurses - key members of healthcare teams with a special vantage point to observe the impact of residents' communication with patients. Thus, we aimed to gauge the perceptions of nurses regarding residents' communication skills expertise.
Methods: This study employed a sequential mixed-methods design, and was conducted at an academic medical center in South Asia. Quantitative data was collected via a REDCap survey using a structured validated questionnaire. Ordinal logistic regression was applied. For qualitative data, In-depth interviews were conducted with nurses using a semi-structured interview guide.
Results: A total of 193 survey responses were obtained from nurses hailing from various specialties including Family Medicine (n = 16), Surgery (n = 27), Internal Medicine (n = 22), Pediatrics (n = 27), and Obstetrics/Gynecology (n = 93). Nurses rated long working hours, infrastructural deficits, and human failings as the main barriers to effective patient-resident communication. Residents working in in-patient settings were more likely to have inadequate communication skills (P-value = 0.160). Qualitative data analysis of nine in-depth interviews revealed two major themes: existing status-quo of residents' communication skills (including deficient verbal and non-verbal communication, bias in patient counselling and challenging patients) and recommendations for improving patient-resident communication.
Conclusion: The findings from this study highlight significant gaps in patient-resident communication from the perception of nurses and identify the need for creating a holistic curriculum for residents to improve patient-physician interaction.


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Publication (Name of Journal)

BMC Medical Education