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Do doctors and nurses in psychiatry find it difficult understand each other?


Ingela Rudberg has worked as a psychiatric nurse since 2007. In addition, she is a lecturer and a researcher in caring science at University of Gävle. Now, she is going to study communication between doctors and nurses in psychiatry.

Läkare och sjuksköterska i samtal

Foto: Maskot/TT Nyhetsbyrån

A great deal of research targets the problems of the working environment in psychiatry, problems that may cause burnout and mental disorders as well as cause people to leave the profession. However, Rudberg claims that the issue whether doctors and nurses speak different languages and what this means for the working environment has hardly been studied at all.

”They are not listening”

Ingela Rudberg

Ingela Rudberg

Previous research shows that doctors and nurses are trained to report and communicate in different ways. Nurses tend to have a more nurturing, holistic approach, while doctors focus more on diagnosis and treatment.

“This difference makes it hard to get through to one another. Clashes happen when you assume that the other person does not want to listen or does not understand why you want to report something,” Ingela Rudberg explains.

Prescribed at night and left without a report

Ingela Rudberg herself has never experienced any problems with regular staff and doctors, which she believes is due to her efforts to communicate clearly and her long experience.

“Perhaps I have become rather skilled at making demands. I feel that doctors trust me and that I can trust them when I need measures to be taken. For example, we may need to increase the dosage in a certain case because things are getting out of hand.”

Importantly, as staff tend to come and go in psychiatry, the quality of communication has deteriorated drastically, both within the team in general and between doctors and nurses, according to Rudberg.

“There is never enough time to build trust and that leads to poor communication. Someone may prescribe something at night and then take off, leaving me, the nurse, in the dark.”

“Poor communication does not always put me or the patient at risk, but the workload becomes insane. We miss things and the continuity of care suffers,” Ingela Rudberg says.


Text: Douglas Öhrbom


Ingela Rudberg, a lecturer and a researcher in caring science at University of Gävle
Phone: 070-565 84 74
E-mail: ingela.rudberg@hig.se

Published by: Douglas Öhrbom Page responsible: Anders Munck Updated: 2022-03-23
Högskolan i Gävle
Box 801 76 GÄVLE
026-64 85 00 (växel)