Interdisciplinary Collaboration in Nursing

Table of Contents


The focus on communication and data transfer in the nursing setting has led to the active enhancement of collaboration among nurses. To ensure that all crucial information is transferred from one healthcare expert to another, one has to encourage cooperation between staff members. The specified requirement also extends to the patient-nurse dialogue as the platform for improving care not only for inpatients but also outpatients, thus encouraging patient education and health management. By focusing on nurse-physician collaboration and communication based on a non-hierarchical collegial framework, one will be able to reduce the number of conflicts and errors in the workplace, thus improving patient outcomes.

Experience Description

A recent experience that I had when cooperating with a team of nurses and physicians in a hospital setting has shown that the use of a non-hierarchal model of cooperation is critical to the successful management of patients’ needs. Particularly, when considering the case of a patient with blurred vision, a therapist concluded that it was the case of early onset of atherosclerosis. However, a nurse pointed to the fact that blurred vision could also be the sign of developing diabetes type II and that the patient should be subjected to the relevant tests.

Feeling personally attacked and assuming that the nurse was questioning his authority, the therapist interrupted the nurse rather impolitely and ordered him to follow his line of reasoning due to the hospital hierarchy. The conflict ensued, leading to the delay in the management of the patient’s needs.

Barriers to Interdisciplinary Collaboration

When considering the impediments to the cooperation between a nurse and a physician, in general, and the participants of the case above, in particular, one should mention time constraints and hierarchy as crucial factors. Due to the rigid schedule and the necessity to assist a large number of patients, both nurses and physicians may be affected by stress and, thus develop rather unreasonable tools for conflict management (Caricati et al., 2015).

Hierarchy also plays a significant role in fueling the conflict between a nurse and a therapist, as well as among any participants of an interdisciplinary team. Physicians may be overwhelmed by the urge to maintain the status quo instead of focusing on the solution to a problem. Consequently, the threat of medical errors increases exponentially (Mahdizadeh, Heydari, & Moonaghi, 2015). The necessity to alter the existing conflict management techniques and improve communication is evident in the identified scenario.

Strategies for Improving Collaboration

To make the cooperation within an interdisciplinary team better, one should redesign the existing hierarchy within a facility by providing each participant with an equal amount of authority. Moreover, the set hierarchal relationships need to be subverted and replaced with a cooperation-based framework for information management. For instance, in the case under analysis, each participant should have the same amount of authority and agency within the hospital setting. The conflict management technique, in turn, will have to be shifted from managing interpersonal issues to locating the available solutions (Mahdizadeh et al., 2015). As a result, patient outcomes will be improved, and medical errors will be avoided.

Significance of Interdisciplinary Collaboration

Interdisciplinary collaboration plays a huge role in managing patients’ needs in a hospital setting. By working as a team, nurses, therapists, and other participants can transfer crucial information quickly and keep every detail in mind when making patent-related decisions. Furthermore, the promotion of a dialogue between the members of an interdisciplinary team encourages the acquisition of new knowledge and skills (Caricati et al., 2015). Therefore, interdisciplinary collaboration should be seen as an essential component of nursing care.


Cooperation between nurses and therapists, as well as the rest of the members of an interdisciplinary team, is an important part of high-quality nursing services. The specified process allows reducing the negative impact of conflicts and preventing medical errors. Therefore, interdisciplinary collaboration needs to be encouraged, and the barriers to its development have to be removed. For instance, a rigid workplace hierarchy, which gradually affects the quality of communication, has to be shifted toward a more flexible system of workplace relationships based on responsibility and compromise.


Caricati, L., Guberti, M., Borgognoni, P., Prandi, C., Spaggiari, I., Vezzani, E., & Iemmi, M. (2015). The role of professional and team commitment in nurse–physician collaboration: A dual identity model perspective. Journal of Interprofessional Care, 29(5), 464-468. Web.

Mahdizadeh, M., Heydari, A., & Moonaghi, H. K. (2015). Clinical interdisciplinary collaboration models and frameworks from similarities to differences: A systematic review. Global Journal of Health Science, 7(6), 170-180. Web.

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