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Be Sensitive to Time Constraints

Posted on February 16, 2006

Barbara H. Fiese (bio) shares some tips for building relationships with the hospital staff.


Collaboration with physicians and working with different health professionals, I think the real key to that is building a relationship. It is important to have a good direct relationship with the physician and also the physician's staff, the front office staff, the nursing staff, and any other sort of associated therapists that are there because they are the gatekeepers. If you can get them to buy into what you are doing and keep that relationship going, it's going to be much more successful.

We do things like have annual lunches where we bring in a big barbeque lunch for the whole staff whoever's there, and that way we can bring them up to date on what's going on in the project. We have an annual newsletter that we share with them, and sometimes we ask different members of the hospital staff to write a little column on tips for families and that sort of thing so they feel like they are really involved.

I think also as a researcher we have to understand the pace of their work is much different than the pace of our work. You're talking about people who are making decisions in 5-6 minutes, seeing multiple members of families, they might see 20 people within the course of the morning. So if you want to sit down and have a long drawn out conversation, you better prepare the people you're talking with because they're not really accustomed to working in that kind of world.

What I found on the whole, most people are very interested in participating in collaborating as long as you're sensitive to what the time constraints are in their own practice and also to be sure to give back to them. Because a lot of people make promises and say, "We'll tell you the results of the study," and as most people know it takes a long time for those results to really get distilled and out, so rather than wait until you have the published article is to go in and do an in-service for their staff, as part of their professional development and training. Give them a few tip sheets of some of the things you've learned and in that way they feel that they haven't wasted their investment in time, and then they often times will share that with some of their own patients and families afterwards.

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Excerpted from interview with researcher in April 2005.


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