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Gallman Lectureship: "The Role of Communication in Clinical Practice"
The connection between improved communication strategies and better clinical outcomes.

Posted: Oct 22, 2013

Kathleen A. Dracup, PhD, RN, FAAN, dean emerita of the University of California, San Francisco School of Nursing, spoke recently at the LaVerne Gallman Distinguished Lectureship in Nursing, hosted by The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing. Her presentation “‘Can You Hear Me Now?’ The Role of Communication in Clinical Practice” was a call for improved teamwork and communication strategies to ensure better patient outcomes.

Dr. Dracup welcomed by Dean Alexa Stuifbergern and former Dean Billye Brown.

Guest speaker Dr. Dracup was welcomed by Dean Alexa Stuifbergern (left)
and former Dean Billye Brown (right).

Citing several studies, such as a recent Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations’ report, that found that the root cause of sentinel events, medication errors and wrong site surgeries is poor communication, Dr. Dracup suggested strategies to transform health-care culture by improving how health-care teams interact.

“In both acute and chronic health-care settings, mounting evidence (shows) that interprofessional (IP) practice models improve patient outcomes, patient and provider satisfaction, and health-care costs,” she said. In addition, “outpatient-based multidisciplinary disease management strategies are reducing mortality and hospitalization rates in patients with chronic disease,” she added.

Transforming the health-care culture, however, will require a commitment to multidisciplinary disease management strategies on the parts of both higher education and the health-care industry, she stressed. For instance, she explained that by implementing interdisciplinary clinical education, nursing schools and other health-care educational institutions can ensure improved teamwork (including better understanding among professions), health-care outcomes and scientific knowledge.

In summary, Dr. Dracup said that a culture of patient safety requires both IP education and team training in clinical sites. The fact that interdisciplinary traditions in science support IP education is all the more reason that it and improved communication strategies should be implemented and tested by all health-care disciplines.

“Through new attitudes, new technology and new communication strategies, health-care professionals can create better clinical outcomes for their patients,” she concluded.

Dr. Dracup is recognized internationally for her investigation into the care of patients with heart disease and the effects of this disease on spouses and other family members. She has been consistently awarded extramural funding for her research, which has been published in more than 350 articles, chapters and books. She served as editor of Heart & Lung for over a decade and was co-editor of the American Journal of Critical Care for almost two decades.

Dr. Dracup is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, was a Fulbright Senior Scholar to Australia and is a member of the Institute of Medicine. She was awarded the American Heart Association’s Eugene Braunwald Award for Academic Mentorship in 2003 and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Heart Failure Society of America in 2011.

The LaVerne Gallman Distinguished Lectureship in Nursing was held Thursday, October 10, in Hargis Hall at The University of Texas at Austin.