August 14, 2015 | | Comments 0
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A Simple Interprofessional Accountability Technique

Listening, validating and asking for a commitment

From Team-Building Handbook: Accountability Strategies for Nurses, by Eileen Lavin Dohmann, RN, MBA, NEA-BC

accountability scenario

When working with a group, I assume that people are rational and logical.

So, if I want them to do something, I just need to explain it and they’ll do it. When I don’t get the results I am seeking, I tend to think “Oh, I must not be explaining it well. Let me try it again.”

It’s taken me a long time to realize that what I was hearing as “not understanding me” was often someone’s polite way of telling me no. So, now when I find myself explaining the same thing to someone for the third time, I stop and ask the person what he or she is hearing me request. If I can validate that the person is hearing me correctly, I ask for the commitment: yes or no.

Validating… and asking for a yes or no

We can hold ourselves accountable, but holding other people accountable can be much more difficult. Consider this nurse-physician scenario and ask yourself if you can see yourself maintaining your calm and tenacity through these exchanges.

Nurse: Dr. Morgan, thank you for returning my page. The stress test results for Mr. Bennet in room 217 have come in and I didn’t hear back from you. Mr. Bennet and his wife are anxious to be discharged, if the test was negative. I need you to look at the test results.

Physician: Yes, well, I’ve been running around all morning. I hope to have it to you by the end of the day.

Nurse: I understand that you are busy. By what time do you expect to have the stress test results? I’d like to give a time to Mr. and Mrs. Bennet.

Physician: I can’t be specific right now—I’m tied up for the next two hours.

Nurse: I understand. Is there anyone else who can read the test? Dr. Smith, your partner, was just on the unit. Can I call Dr. Smith to see if he can help you?

For more information on Team-Building Handbook: Accountability Strategies for Nurses, or to order a 10-pack for staff, click here.


Entry Information

Filed Under: accountabilityHealthcare communicationHot topicsInterprofessional issuesLeadershipnurse-physician communicationRetentionstaff developmentteam-building


About the Author: Claudette Moore is an acquisitions editor at HCPro, focusing primarily on nursing topics. She is always looking for new books that will create a better workplace for nurses and their managers, so contact her if you would like to publish with HCPro.

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