The Impact of Crucial Conversations™ on Interpersonal Communication and Professionalism

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Background: Multiple investigations have been conducted by various groups showing that lack of competence in the areas of interpersonal communication and professionalism leads to increased errors and a reduction in patient safety. Few tools exist for educating trainees on these two ACGME core competencies. We propose that by formalizing the use of Crucial Conversations™ as an educational tool we will see improvements within the domains of interpersonal communication and professionalism which will be reflected by improved patient safety outcomes and an improved overall teamwork climate.
Methods: Using physicians that were certified by VitalSmarts™ in the delivery of Crucial Conversations™, training was conducted for all new PGY I’s during their orientation. The Safety Attitudes Questionnaire was administered to residents, nursing staff and faculty prior to this training in June of 2017 and again in May of 2018 to determine the impact of this course on the overall safety culture at OSU Medical Center.
Results: Of 551 eligible participants, 330 (60%) participated upon first administration of the SAQ and 118 (21%) participated during second administration. A multivariate analysis with 6 dependent variables was used to determine if there was a significant difference between prior and post administration on the SAQ subscales. Results indicated the following variables were significant at the .05 level: teamwork climate (p < .001), safety climate (p < .001), stress recognition (p < .005) and work conditions (p < .05).
Discussion: Findings from our study show a statistically significant difference between pre-crucial conversations training and post-crucial conversations training in the areas of: teamwork climate, safety climate, job satisfaction, stress recognition, perceptions of management, and working conditions. Limitations for this study included the fact that not all members of the interdisciplinary health team went through the intensive 16 hours Crucial Conversation Training. Findings are supportive of a positive impact, and thus a larger scale study looking at the integration of Crucial Conversations™ into the training of medial students, residents, nursing and attending physicians needs to be conducted. 
Original languageAmerican English
JournalOklahoma State Medical Proceedings
Issue number1
StatePublished - 21 May 2021


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