The importance of effective communication in interprofessional practice: perspectives of maternity clinicians

Bernadette M. Watson, Michelle L. Heatley, Cindy Gallois, Sue Kruske

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Midwives and doctors require effective information-sharing strategies to provide safe and evidence-based care for women and infants, but this can be difficult to achieve. This article describes maternity care professionals’ perceptions of communication in their current workplace in Australia. We invoke social identity theory (SIT) to explore how these perceptions affect interprofessional practice. A survey was conducted with 337 participants (281 midwives and 56 doctors). Using exploratory factor analysis we developed three scales that measured interprofessional workplace practice collaboration. Results indicated an intergroup environment in maternity care in which the professionals found exchange of ideas difficult, and where differences with respect to decision making and professional skills were apparent. Although scores on some measures of collaboration were high, the two professions differed on their ratings of the importance of team behaviors, information sharing, and interprofessional socialization as indicators of collaborative practice. These results highlight the complexities among maternity care providers with different professional identities, and demonstrate the impact of professional identity on interprofessional communication.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)400-407
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Communication
Volume31
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2016
Externally publishedYes

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