Research utilization and interdisciplinary collaboration in emergency care

H E Hansen, M H Biros, N M Delaney, V L Schug
Academic Emergency Medicine 1999, 6 (4): 271-9

OBJECTIVES: To examine perceptions of nurse-physician collaboration and research utilization in a large, county medical center with an emergency medicine (EM) residency program, to assess differences among nurses, residents, and attending physicians, and to explore the relationship between collaboration and research utilization.

METHODS: A cross-sectional, exploratory, correlational design. Questionnaires measuring four aspects of collaboration-leadership, communication, problem solving, and coordination-and four aspects of research utilization-support, attitude, availability, and use-were distributed to 115 nurses, 18 attending physicians, and 33 EM residents (n = 166). A 59% response rate was achieved.

RESULTS: The survey instruments demonstrated acceptable reliability at 0.70 or better Cronbach's alpha except for communication timeliness (alpha = 0.64) and predictive validity. Overall, physicians and nurses rated measures of collaboration and research favorably. However, there were significant differences (p < 0.05) between physicians and nurses on four measures of collaboration (i.e., physician leadership, communication openness within group, communication openness between groups, and problem solving within group) and research utilization (research use), with physicians holding more favorable views than nurses. Three measures of collaboration predicted 47% of the variance in research use for physicians; only one measure of collaboration was important for nurses, explaining 9.3% of the variance in research use.

CONCLUSION: Interdisciplinary collaboration showed some significance in promoting research use in the ED, especially for physicians. However, nurse-physician differences in perceptions of collaboration and research use should be examined more fully.

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