5 tips for nurses to have great professional relationships with physicians

The relationship between nurses and physicians plays a crucial role in helping us get through this pandemic. It’s important to come together in times of crisis, avoid unnecessary conflict, and focus on patient health.


On the other hand, it’s not always easy to maintain a good professional relationship with a physician. There’s lots of room for negative experiences and awkward encounters. How can you, as a nurse, avoid them? How can you keep healthy and productive relationships?


The simple answer is to focus on being the best NP that you can be, but that’s not all there is to it. Consider these five tips to improve your relationship with any physician:


1. Start by taking a look at yourself


Sometimes we are too eager to blame our problems on outside factors. If I’m not having a successful professional relationship with someone, it must be their fault, right? This line of thinking is more common than people initially consider.


To ensure that things run smoothly between healthcare providers, we must look inward and answer a few questions. Am I doing all that’s required of me? Am I being communicative enough? What can I do to improve my own way of working? 


You need to be exactly where you need to be so no one will get the chance to complain about you. This step is very important if you also want to build trust between you, physicians, and other healthcare providers. Reliability helps you avoid many uncomfortable situations.

2. Remember that you are part of a team


The main rift between MDs and NPs today comes from a misunderstanding about the roles that each of them have. One of the best ways to keep things productive is to embrace being part of a team. 


Approaching things from the mindset of collaboration and team effort ensures that the patient is the primary focus. Competition between nurses and physicians is not productive, especially for nurse practitioners, who are affected by it the most.


NPs that focus on team efforts help to end the dichotomy of NPs vs MDs. Remember that everyone has a crucial part to play in the patient’s care. We can’t ensure that everyone will follow the same policy as you, but hey, remember point one: you have to start with yourself so other people follow your lead.


3. Don’t be afraid to speak up


This point is essential for nurse practitioners. Having a good relationship with a supervising physician is not about staying silent. You can only earn the respect and trust of others by speaking your mind. However, you have to be assertive. Saying what you mean is not about putting yourself on top of other people, or starting arguments. 


Many times you’ll find yourself in a situation where the best interests of the patient rely on you speaking up. You’ll have to convince people of something. Be calm and respectful. State the facts. That’s how you can get your point across in the most efficient manner.


It’s true that sometimes doing this won’t get you the results you want. However, you might find that most people appreciate you taking initiative. Both you and the physician are in the business of helping people, and being upfront about the patient’s needs will resonate with most of them.


4. As an NP, you already have empathy. Use it!


It’s easy to demonstrate empathy towards patients. That has to be a part of your personality if you’re a nurse. Redirect this empathy towards the physicians that work with you. Put yourself in their shoes whenever you can.


It’s important that you are able to see things from the physician’s  perspective. This will help you improve your communication skills. You’ll have a better idea of what to say when a problem comes up and you’re involved with it.


Speaking up, being assertive, and being empathetic will help you create great professional relationships with physicians. Demonstrating these qualities will make them seek your opinion and value your judgement more.



5. Remember to take care of yourself


Some problems can’t be solved in the clinical setting. Pay attention to self-care and don’t neglect your physical and mental health. If you’re having a situation at work with a physician, be sure to leave it there when you go home.


This point is especially important because some NPs might feel a lot of anxiety when dealing with certain physicians. No matter how good you are at communicating, how good you are at being assertive, it just won’t work with some people.


However, we’re not saying that you should give up or forget about it. We’re saying that the best way to set a good mindset to tackle this issue is by taking care of yourself and not taking the problem home with you. That won’t solve anything!


You need to be well yourself so you can take good care of your patients, and personal and professional relationships.


More content for nurses and NPs:

The highest paying nurse practitioner specialties in 2020

How to create a kick-ass LinkedIn profile as an NP student

How nurses can become better patient educators


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