BACKGROUND: Physician-patient communication is vital to patient care, and physician-nurse interactions are equally critical. Conflict between nurses and physicians can greatly impair communication, increasing the risk of treatment errors, yet physicians receive little education during training on recognizing and resolving professional conflicts.
INNOVATION: We created and implemented the Standardized Professional (S-Pro) Encounter to improve training and provide opportunities to evaluate resident professionalism and communication with health care team colleagues.
METHODS: The standardized patient model is well established for teaching and assessing clinical and communication skills. Using the standardized patient concept, we created a nurse-resident encounter with 2 professionally trained medical portrayers (1 "nurse," 1 "patient"), in which the nurse disagrees with the resident's treatment plan. Residents were surveyed for prior experience with nurse-physician conflict management, and we assessed postencounter for collaborative skills and conflict resolution.
RESULTS: All residents (n=18) observed at least 1 physician-nurse conflict in front of patients. Eleven (61%) reported being involved in at least 1 conflict. Twelve residents (67%) had 2 or fewer prior education experiences in interprofessional conflict management. Faculty assessment and S-Pro scores demonstrated high agreement, while resident self-assessment scores demonstrated low agreement with faculty and S-Pro scores.
CONCLUSIONS: Participants and evaluators found the encounter to be reasonably authentic. There was strong agreement between the faculty and S-Pro assessment of resident performance when using the Boggs scale. The S-Pro Encounter is easily adapted for other clinical situations or training programs, and facilitates the assessment of professionalism and communication skills between residents and other health care professionals.
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