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Debra Lane, the nurse manager of a 77-bed medical-surgical unit, is negotiating with the pharmacy to deliver medications earlier in the morning. The clinical nurses are unable to schedule procedures in a timely manner, complete all required treatments, and medicate clients on time because of late pharmacy delivery. Nurse Lane has scheduled a meeting with the pharmacy manager, James. She determined ahead the exact time required for timely delivery and proper client medication delivery. She also did some brainstorming with her nurses to identify other options that might solve the problem. Because this issue is so important it will be difficult for Nurse Lane to back down on the need that medications be delivered earlier. When Nurse Lane meets with the Jim, the pharmacy manager, she clearly states the problem and asks for input from his perspective. Jim tells her that he cannot change the time schedule because he will upset his workers and their organization. While Nurse Lane empathizes with him she reiterates that for quality care, it is essential to administer medications in a timely fashion. Nurse Lane offers to work with him in analyzing delivery times to help develop a different schedule that meets everyone’s needs. Jim, the pharmacy manager finally says. “Sorry Debra this is your problem, not mine”.

Share the following:

  1. From a communication perspective, what might be the reason Jim, the Pharmacy Manager declined to work with Nurse Lane?
  2. What went wrong in this communication? What might Nurse Lane do differently to change his perspective?
  3. What approach should Nurse Lane take next in her negotiations with the Pharmacy Manager to move toward interdisciplinary collaboration?

Expert Solution Preview

From a communication perspective, there could be several reasons why Jim, the Pharmacy Manager, declined to work with Nurse Lane. One possible reason could be a lack of understanding or awareness of the impact that late pharmacy delivery has on the clinical nurses’ ability to provide timely care. Jim may not fully comprehend the extent of the problem and the consequences it has on patient outcomes.

Another reason could be resistance to change. Jim mentioned that changing the time schedule would upset his workers and their organization. This suggests that he may be hesitant to disrupt their established routine or processes, even if it means improving patient care. Resistance to change is a common barrier in many organizations, and overcoming it requires effective communication and collaboration.

In this communication, several things went wrong. First, there was a failure to establish a common understanding of the problem. Although Nurse Lane clearly stated the issue, Jim seemed dismissive and detached from the urgency of the situation. This lack of mutual understanding hindered effective problem-solving.

Additionally, there was a failure to empathize with each other’s perspectives. While Nurse Lane empathized with Jim’s concerns about his workers, Jim did not reciprocate by fully acknowledging the importance of timely medication administration for quality care. This lack of empathy created a disconnect and led to a breakdown in communication.

To change Jim’s perspective, Nurse Lane could take a different approach. Instead of focusing solely on the problem, she could try to help Jim see the benefits of early medication delivery not just for the clinical nurses but also for the pharmacy department and the organization as a whole. By highlighting the potential positive outcomes, such as improved patient satisfaction and reduced errors, Nurse Lane may be able to appeal to Jim’s interest in maintaining a well-functioning department.

In her negotiations with the Pharmacy Manager to move towards interdisciplinary collaboration, Nurse Lane should take an inclusive and collaborative approach. She can emphasize the shared goal of providing high-quality patient care and emphasize the need for teamwork and cooperation across departments. Nurse Lane could propose working together with Jim to analyze the current delivery times and develop a new schedule that takes into consideration the needs of both the pharmacy and the clinical nurses. By involving Jim in the problem-solving process and making him feel like an equal partner, Nurse Lane can foster a sense of ownership and collaboration.