AbstractsMedical & Health Science

Characterizing medical and nursing student communication using verbal listening behaviors and closed loops in simulated health care delivery

by Paul M Rosser

Institution: Colorado State University
Year: 2016
Keywords: closed loop communication; communication; listening behaviors; medical errors; patient safety
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2082909
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10217/170431


Few issues are more unsettling than the persistent threats to patient safety from medical errors; communication failure among providers is among the leading causes for medical errors (The Joint Commission, 2012). Significant reduction of medical errors is constrained by a lack of understanding for the causes of communication failure; the bulk of knowledge about communication failure is known after such failures result in medical errors. The problem addressed in this dissertation is the lack of tools to study provider-provider communication in progress. The study included here aims to demonstrate one means by which provider-provider communication can be successfully characterized. Few studies of provider-provider communication during care delivery have been conducted. Some understanding of information exchanges has been provided from studies by communication and listening scholars in health care and in other fields where precise communication is essential. However researchers lack the ability to recognize the specific components in an information exchange between two or more providers that indicate communication has succeeded or failed. These conditions leave new studies without testable theories and offer no reasonable basis for hypotheses about communication failure. This study employed an exploratory inquiry strategy and leveraged verbal listening behaviors in closed loop communication (CLC) to identify characteristics of communication. Observations were conducted of medical (MD) and nursing (RN) student teams managing Emergency Medicine (EM) simulations. Observers accessed the videotaped EM encounters at the Center for Advancing Professional Excellence (CAPE) at the University of Colorado Denver's Anschutz Medical Campus (UC/AMC). Students' verbal listening behaviors were used to characterize their exchanges of information; CLC provided a framework to identify and position the listening behaviors in exchanges of information. This study had three goals, which were revised based on learning gained from the study. 1. To identify specific steps in provider-provider exchanges of information where communication succeeds and fails – is revised to – To characterize the exchanges of information among the MD and RN student teams during simulated care delivery. 2. To describe the characteristics of communication sufficiently to assess outcomes of communication loops not being closed – is deleted as data gathered did not support this goal and the goal was determined to exceed the scope of the study. 3. To recommend hypotheses to study to inform providers' communication curriculum, professional development, and subsequent research – The exploration and data supported this goal and it was retained. Hypotheses for future studies are detailed. Competencies and decision-making: Hypothesis One. There is a negative correlation between students' demonstration of specific communication competencies and specific clinical decision-making competencies in the same simulation of care delivery. Researchers should consider study… Advisors/Committee Members: Makela, Carol (advisor), Barley, Gwyn (committee member), Gloeckner, Gene (committee member), Maynard, Travis (committee member).