Leveraging the vantage point – exploring nurses’ perception of residents’ communication skills: a mixed-methods study

Komal Abdul Rahim, Maryam Pyar Ali Lakhdir, Noreen Afzal, Asma Altaf Hussain Merchant, Namra Qadeer Shaikh, Ali Aahil Noorali, Umar Tariq, Rida Ahmad, Saqib Kamran Bakhshi, Saad bin Zafar Mahmood, Muhammad Rizwan Khan, Muhammed Tariq, Adil H. Haider

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Effective communication is key to a successful patient-doctor interaction and improved healthcare outcomes. However, communication skills training in residency is often subpar, leading to inadequate patient-physician communication. There is a dearth of studies exploring the observations of nurses – key members of healthcare teams with a special vantage point to observe the impact of residents’ communication with patients. Thus, we aimed to gauge the perceptions of nurses regarding residents’ communication skills expertise. Methods: This study employed a sequential mixed-methods design, and was conducted at an academic medical center in South Asia. Quantitative data was collected via a REDCap survey using a structured validated questionnaire. Ordinal logistic regression was applied. For qualitative data, In-depth interviews were conducted with nurses using a semi-structured interview guide. Results: A total of 193 survey responses were obtained from nurses hailing from various specialties including Family Medicine (n = 16), Surgery (n = 27), Internal Medicine (n = 22), Pediatrics (n = 27), and Obstetrics/Gynecology (n = 93). Nurses rated long working hours, infrastructural deficits, and human failings as the main barriers to effective patient-resident communication. Residents working in in-patient settings were more likely to have inadequate communication skills (P-value = 0.160). Qualitative data analysis of nine in-depth interviews revealed two major themes: existing status-quo of residents’ communication skills (including deficient verbal and non-verbal communication, bias in patient counselling and challenging patients) and recommendations for improving patient-resident communication. Conclusion: The findings from this study highlight significant gaps in patient-resident communication from the perception of nurses and identify the need for creating a holistic curriculum for residents to improve patient-physician interaction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number148
JournalBMC Medical Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • Communication
  • Nurses
  • Residents


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