Improving nurse-physician communication and satisfaction in the intensive care unit with a daily goals worksheet

Mangala Narasimhan, Lewis A. Eisen, Christine D. Mahoney, Frank L. Acerra, Mark J. Rosen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effect of a standardized worksheet on physicians' and nurses' perceptions of their understanding of goals of care and on patients' length of stay in an intensive care unit. METHODS: A worksheet was completed daily during multidisciplinary rounds and was posted at each bedside in the medical intensive care unit at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York. Information recorded included tests or procedures, medications, sedation, analgesia, catheters, consultations, nutrition, mobilization, family discussions, consents, and disposition. Attending physicians, residents, and nurses completed a questionnaire before implementation of the worksheet and 3 times afterwards. Responses were scored on a 5-point scale (1 = understand nothing, 5 = completely understand). Continuous variables were analyzed by using a t test; categorical variables, by using a χ2 test. RESULTS: Before the worksheet was implemented, scores for understanding goals were 3.9 for nurses and 4.6 for physicians. Scores increased to 4.8 for nurses (P = .001) and 4.9 for physicians (P = .03) 6 weeks later, an improvement that remained at 9 months. Both groups showed significant improvement in communication scores that lasted for 9 months. Most responders wanted to continue using the worksheet. During the study, the mean stay in the unit was 4.3 days, down from 6.4 days for the analogous 9-month period in the preceding year (P = .02). CONCLUSION: Nurses' and physicians' perceptions of their understanding of the goals of care and of communication between them were improved and stays in the unit were shortened when the worksheet was used.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-222
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Critical Care
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care


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