Family medicine is somewhat unique in the sense that clinicians have an opportunity to work with multiple generations of a family over an entire career. The multi-generational aspect of family medicine is one of the things that makes it so satisfying. Yet no job is perfect. There are aspects to every job that make it somewhat unsatisfying on a day-to-day basis. Family medicine is no exception.
A recent study published by the Annals of Family Medicine links job satisfaction in the medical field to a number of things, not the least of which is communication. The study determined that better team communication leads to increased job satisfaction. It sounds like a great recipe for makin family medicine jobs even more satisfying.
Communication and Relationships
It is a given that communication is integral to the success of any relationship. Husbands and wives have to be effective communicators to thrive. Employers have to be able to effectively communicate with employees if they want to avoid problems. Likewise, it stands to reason that all the team members in a family practice will do better if interoffice communication is solid.
Getting back to the study, researchers stated in their report that “generalized linear mixed modeling showed that individuals who were in the core of the communication network had significantly greater job satisfaction than those who were on the periphery.”
The implication here is that team members who are kept in the communication loop tend to be more satisfied with their jobs. That makes sense. Being kept out of the loop tends to make people feel as though they are not appreciated or valued. It tends to make them feel like others are not concerned about them, their needs, and their feelings.
Job and Patient Satisfaction
One of the more fascinating aspects to the study was its analysis of how job satisfaction among professionals impacts patient satisfaction. Researchers concluded that when job satisfaction is high among clinicians, patients demonstrate higher rates of satisfaction with the services they receive.
This suggests that interoffice communications have at least an indirect impact on patient satisfaction. Knowing that the U.S. healthcare system is transitioning to a new model that relies more heavily on patient satisfaction as a measure of success, improving interoffice communication should be a high priority.
How to Improve Communication
So, how do family practices improve communication? By employing a number of key strategies. The first strategy is to define channels of communication clearly. In other words, figure out how doctors, advanced practice nurses, registered nurses, and support staff will communicate with one another inside the office.
There are lots of options in our technology laden world. Having said that, it helps when an office settles on one primary means of communication to be used whenever possible. It is not that other forms cannot be used, but the primary method is the go-to method.
Another strategy is to make a point of conducting face-to-face meetings at least on a daily basis. Perhaps a staff meeting first thing in the morning or everyone getting together over lunch to discuss office business. As valuable as electronic communications are, nothing beats sitting down and speaking with people face-to-face.
It is imperative that all interoffice communication be rooted in transparency and honesty. Everyone in the office should be free to express thoughts and ideas without fear of consequence. Likewise, everyone should be quick to listen to what others have to say.
Yes, family medicine jobs can be made more satisfying. A good first step in that direction is to work on improving interoffice communication.
Hemant Kumar is a project manager at Tridindia with more than nine years of commendable experience in writing about LMS, translation, and IT. His unmatched talent and passion for digital marketing gave him the opportunity to work as a multi-tasking project manager at TridIndia’s sister company, Link Building Corp. Today, he contributes to the world by imparting knowledge on SEO, link building and internet marketing etc., that helps business owners grow their online business.