Communicating Effectively with Doctors

Communicating Effectively with Doctors

Home » Archives for February 2018
In hospitals, there seems to be an unspoken hierarchy where doctors reign supreme. It may be understandable for some since they make the diagnosis and treatments. However, some nurses find this social ladder quite intimidating making communicating effectively with doctors a frustrating task.

According to a study published by Christine Jones, et al. in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, a lack of communication between hospital physicians and primary care providers leads to a higher risk of readmission. Therefore, if we are to deliver the best care to our patients we should seek ways in which we can improve our interactions with the doctors we work with. Below are tips you can utilise to develop your techniques for communicating effectively with doctors.

Communicating Effectively with Doctors – Top Tips


Before making a call to your patient’s doctor on call it is important to know which crucial facts you want to talk to them about, especially if they have multiple issues. Is the patient’s condition deteriorating and you need the doctor to give out an order or change in the medication? Knowing which problems to resolve first can greatly affect patient outcomes.

Collect and organise your data

As nurses, we should never assume that doctors are familiar with our patient’s case. Doctors see hundreds of patients everyday, so be prepared to give a brief history of your patient and anticipate other questions especially an on call doctor might have. One suggestion, always have the patient’s chart as well as the patient’s medication record and lab results. Also, make sure that you have done a recent set of ‘obs’ because it may be asked from you.


SBAR which stands for Situation – Background – Assessment – Recommendation may be the on-point type of communication for handovers and rapid updates. This method has everything a doctor needs to know from the information that you have on the patient. How the condition or illness of the patient started. What is currently happening to your patient. What you want the doctor to do regarding the situation. Use this to your advantage because you can never go wrong with this fantastic tool for pushing information.

Keep Your Cool

Some doctors may not be receptive to a nurse’s call, especially at night. They may be irritated or worse angry since you caught them in an inconvenient hour, but don’t lose your temper and respond to their ill behaviour. Rise up from everything and still be respectful as they will generally calm down. Moreover, never apologise for interrupting their activities because after all you are calling about a patient and this is important. If they shout at you or worse, hang up before you have relayed information, then document this accordingly.


This may seem obvious when communicating effectively with doctors, but we can never be complacent when it comes to our patients. Write everything down because this is the only way you can not only protect your patient, but yourself.


Go Nurse is The Stress Free Nursing Agency for London nurses. Is it time you made a change? Register online today for nursing shifts across London.

Top 6 Nursing Home Handover Tips for London Nurses

Top 6 Nursing Home Handover Tips for London Nurses

Home » Archives for February 2018

Starting a shift at a new nursing home can be quite daunting for London nurses, regardless of you nursing experience levels. There is always a transition period that comes with changing to a different nursing home, during which you’ll need to quickly find your feet and get used to new routines and protocols. We are here to help and make your first shift at a new nursing home as ‘stress free’ as possible, so we’ve put together some great tips to make the process easier!

Establish Yourself

It’s important to prove yourself immediately as a valuable nurse and member of the team. So many agency nurses slide in like a shadow and no one knows they are even there…..until they see a gap on the MAR chart and then it’s very easy to blame the unseen one!

No one can expect you to know the ins and outs of how your nursing home works, but things like arriving on time, introducing yourself to staff, residents and relatives is just basic practice. Also be enthusiastic and show that you are competent and confident.

Be Effective

Don’t be a know it all – be a learn it all. Showing that you’re ready to learn will make it easier for the other nurses to trust in your abilities. It will also give you an opportunity to talk to more members of the care team and gel with them. It’s important that you listen to everything and try to take it all on board.

Ask the right questions about the residents, the immediate priorities (who is ill / on antibiotics / critically timed medicines for Parkinson’s or controlled drugs – pain relief). Also establish at handover who will give you more info, if you need it.

Take Charge

Just because it’s your first time at the nursing home, this doesn’t mean you can’t show confidence and ask important questions. Remember that you are an essential part of the team and that your input is important.

  • Get to work quickly by taking charge of the team.
  • Ask them who is doing what as soon as the handover is finished and who is on 1st / 2nd
  • If this hasn’t been set up already ask for suggestions or allocate staff to each ‘side’ or room numbers.
  • Tell the team to report any changes to you immediately.

Be Professional

Don’t criticise the home or compare it to another, as a London agency nurse you will see many homes, all operating in very different ways. “They didn’t do it this way at ….” or “What do you mean we can’t use the residents coffee machine…”
And look the part. Hair up before you go on duty, of course a clean and ironed uniform, agency name badge etc.

Find Your Bearings

Make sure that you have all of the information you need regarding your new workplace and its location. It can help to write down the address and telephone number of the nursing home, this is essential if you have to call in an emergency to 999 or call an out of hours GP.

Keep Records

Caring for other people is a big responsibility and a large part of that is being able to identify issues or problems. Record all resident notes on line or on paper as the company policy requires, fully detailing the interventions and care you delivered for each.

  • If there was any sort of incident, record it and hand it over.
  • Get witness statements for all untoward incidents like bruises, falls, choking or aggressive behaviour.
  • Call the GP and report ANY change in resident. He can decide if he attends or not.
  • Record that and tell the Next of Kin of any changes, plus record that too.
  • At the end of your shifts sign off the entries of all your carers, including daily notes, turns, fluid charts etc.
  • Then if possible, get a peer review of your MAR charts for the shift and you can in turn offer to check theirs to ensure there are no gaps.

Stay Positive

Lastly, always keep a smile on your face. Like any job, nursing can come with its challenges and it may tire you out on some days. Staying positive can help a lot. Not only will it keep you happy and motivated but it will inspire your fellow nurses to feel the same and help create a more enjoyable working environment.

Go Nurse is The Stress Free Nursing Agency for London nurses. Is it time you made a change? Register online today for nursing shifts across London.

The Stigma of Agency Nursing

The Stigma of Agency Nursing

Home » Archives for February 2018
With the advent of the NHS staffing crisis, and shortage of care home nurses,  agency nurses are often around to support. Nurses however are quite a “clicky”bunch. Nurses like the familiar faces of colleagues and people who they are comfortable working with. They like to work with people whose skill set they are confident in, and people they can trust. For this reason, agency nurses are stigmatised. Agency nurses come from differing backgrounds and may have little or no experience working in the environment that they are placed in as an agency nurse.

Agency Nursing: The Stigma

Regular nurses can get frustrated.  Instead of receiving support, they often end up carrying out the majority of the work on shift. They doubt the agency nurse’s capacity to competently care for patients with specific conditions. It is however unfair to view agency nurses as incompetent. Just because they do not have experience working in an area of specialist nursing does not mean they are incompetent. For example, a pulmonary nurse was given a shift on a kidney and liver transplant ward. She may not have the extensive knowledge and skills to effectively work on that unit. However, when one patient developed pulmonary oedema as a result of his illness, the pulmonary nurse was able to properly apply the care which was instructed by a doctor.

Breaking the Stigma of Agency Nursing

As an agency nurse, it becomes more and more important to prove yourself. This is not only to break the stigma, but because maybe you have also been at the receiving end of unsatisfactory work as a regular nurse. This stigma also stems from the fact that some agency nurses are given shifts even though they do not have the experience in a specific area. Agency nurses are no different to regular nurses and hold the same nursing qualifications. In fact, some agency nurses are actually more experienced than the regular nurses they are put on shift with.

Responsibility on Both Sides

For agency nurses, know the basics and gain as much experience as you can. Being able to identify your limitations in a setting which is totally new to you, is vital in ensuring safe and effective care. By being able to do this you are able to show your proficiency as a nurse. This will help you earn the trust and respect of the regular nurses you are working with. Be aware of your capabilities and do not accept shifts in specialisms where you know you have no experience.

As a regular nurse, do not to be unfairly judgemental of agency nurses. Ensure you are aware of the agency nurses experience and specialisms, and be more trusting.


Go Nurse is The Stress Free Nursing Agency for London nurses. Is it time you made a change? Register online today for nursing shifts across London.