Do Clinicians Need Training to Get Along?

February 26, 2020

The case of Josie King, a toddler who died of dehydration while being treated for burns at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore 20 years ago, became a catalyst for the patient safety movement.

It also shaped the career of Cheryl Connors, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, who was then a young nurse just starting her career. Nurses had tried to raise the alarm about Josie's rapidly changing condition, but physicians dismissed their concerns, Connors says. She is now a patient safety specialist with the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality, where she helps medical and nursing students acquire the skills needed to speak up, without hesitation, on behalf of their patients.

Similar interprofessional education (IPE) programs were part of the required curriculum at 143 medical schools in 2017–2018, and national nursing organizations promote them in nursing education as well.

"It needs to be done early; it needs to be done regularly," Michael Wilkes, MD, MPH, PhD, an internist and professor at the University of California, Davis, said of collaboration and conflict management training. "And it can't be confined to just the classroom. The students need to be in environments where people are working together."

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