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Nursing Research and Practice
Volume 2012, Article ID 401905, 7 pages
Research Article

The Impact of Nursing Characteristics and the Work Environment on Perceptions of Communication

1Division of Nursing Business and Health Systems, School of Nursing, University of Michigan, 400 N Ingalls, Room 4152, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5482, USA
2College of Nursing, Kyungpook National University, Daegu 702-701, Republic of Korea

Received 2 October 2011; Accepted 17 December 2011

Academic Editor: John Daly

Copyright © 2012 Dana Tschannen and Eunjoo Lee. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Failure to communicate openly and accurately to members of the healthcare team can result in medical error. The purpose of this study was to explore the impact of nursing characteristics and environmental values on communication in the acute care setting. Nurses ( 𝑛 = 1 3 5 ) on four medical-surgical units in two hospitals completed a survey asking nurses' perceptions of communication, work environment, and nursing demographics. LPNs perceived significantly higher levels of open communication with nurses than did RNs ( 𝑃 = . 0 4 2 ). RNs noted higher levels of accuracy of communication among nurses than did LPNs ( 𝑃 < . 0 0 1 ). Higher experience levels resulted in greater perceptions of open communication. Only environmental values (e.g., trust, respect) were a significant predictor of both openness and accuracy of communication. These findings suggest understanding the environment (e.g., presence or absence of trust, respect, status equity, and time availability) is a foundational step that must occur before implementing any strategies aimed at improving communication.