Skip to main content

How Nurse Leaders Can Take Initiative and Promote Positive Nurse/Doctor Interaction for Best Patient Results

In any workplace, it is essential to maintain a professional attitude and to foster respectful, cordial relationships with colleagues. This is especially crucial in hospitals and healthcare environments where mutual respect and the ability to work as a team increase the care patients receive from nurses, doctors, and administrators. Nurses and physicians need each other and a strong, fair-minded nurse leader can foster better relationships among them.

Maintaining Control in Emotionally Tense Situations

Emotions can run high in the intense situations experienced in hospitals, clinics, and doctor offices. Both doctors and nurses may experience strong emotions toward their patients and toward each other. Nurse leaders can diffuse these situations to keep the environment calm and efficient. It may involve stepping into the middle of a situation rife with friction, where it’s important to maintain both professionalism and understanding.


If the circumstances become stressful or tense, it is important to take the involved parties aside. Soothing the problem can sometimes be as easy as advising a nurse to vent when he or she gets home or reminding a doctor that each person has a vital, unique perspective to share. It is likewise worthwhile to step in and put a stop to angry or insubordinate behavior, which is detrimental to both working relationship and the patients.

Emphasize the Value of Constant Learning

Every negative situation has the potential to become a lesson. Stressing the value of learning from mistakes, differences of opinion, and disagreements between colleagues can easily foster a more positive relationship between doctors and nurses. By keeping his or her eyes and ears open, a nurse leader can decipher the root of a problem and explain the different perspectives to everyone involved. Remind doctors and nurses that there is value inherent in listening to and learning from each other, and that they can improve everything from their bedside manner to the questions they pose to their patients.

Encourage Full Collaboration

Medicine and healthcare depend on collaboration and teamwork. EMTs, nursing aides, and students work alongside nurses, doctors, and administrators, as well as technicians, anesthesiologists, and pharmacists. The level of treatment and care a patient receives depends on the ability to work as a team, anticipate each other’s needs, and come up with helpful solutions. The patient should never witness a disagreement as this may cause doubt in the quality of care they are receiving.


The patient is the top priority at all times. If a nurse gets upset because a doctor snaps in a moment of deep concentration, a nurse leader can explain outside of the room that it was not personal. If a doctor takes issue with a nurse making a suggestion, a nurse leader can later remind him or her that different opinions are valuable along with an opportunity to teach.

Create a Respectful Environment

Respect of one’s colleagues is indispensable in the workplace, especially in a healthcare facility. Nurses and doctors must respect each other, and nursing students must respect their superiors. Maintaining respect can be practiced by removing emotion and focusing on the issue or problem, versus the person. Nurse leaders can be an integral part of leading by example and promoting an open and trusting work environment.. It is helpful to encourage all members of the staff to listen and watch each other as they work, so they can learn to appreciate skills, talents, and differences in one another’s work styles.

Inspire Self-Confidence Among Staff

Acting confidently in one’s actions and decisions when practicing care is critical, not only for ensuring confidence in the patient about the care they are receiving, but also to help foster greater respect from the Doctors.  Nurse leaders can help cultivate self-confidence in their staff by providing feedback to nurses in a way that is constructive and also by reinforcing what the nurse is doing well, thus building their confidence, and earning greater respect from the Doctors. Nurses and doctors work in tandem to protect, heal, and save. Teamwork is crucial in healthcare settings and it is often up to nurse leaders to nurture a mutually respectful rapport between colleagues, which these techniques can create.


If you’re looking to advance in your nursing career and think an online MSN degree is right for you, check out Maryville University for a full suite of online nurse practitioner degree programs.

Student support specialist helping online student in café

Learn more about our programs.

Student sitting outdoors on her computer

Take your next step.

Program Type
Program Name
Total tuition:
Program Type
Program Name