Working together--primary care doctors' and nurses' attitudes to collaboration

Scand J Public Health. 2010 Feb;38(1):78-85. doi: 10.1177/1403494809347405. Epub 2009 Sep 17.


Background: Multidisciplinary teamwork is recommended for various disorders and it has been suggested that it is a way to meet the new challenges and demands facing general practitioners (GPs) in modern society. Attempts to introduce the method in primary care have failed partly due to GPs' unwillingness to participate. The aim of this study was to measure attitudes towards collaboration among GPs and district nurses (DN) and to investigate whether there is a correlation between a positive attitude toward collaboration and high self-esteem in the professional role.

Methods: The Jefferson Scale of Attitudes toward Physician Nurse Collaboration and the Professional Self-Description Form (PSDF) was used to study a cohort of 600 GPs and DNs in Västra Götaland region. The purpose was to map differences and correlations of attitude between DNs and GPs, between male and female GPs, and between older and younger DNs and GPs.

Results: Four hundred and one answers were received. DNs (mean 51.7) were significantly more positive about collaboration than GPs (mean 49.4). There was no difference between younger and older, male and female GPs. DNs scored higher on the PSDF-scale than GPs.

Conclusions: DNs were slightly more positive about collaboration than GPs. A positive attitude towards collaboration did not seem to be a part of the GPs' professional role to the same extent as it is for DNs. Professional norms seem to have more influence on attitudes than do gender roles. DNs seem more confident in their profession than GPs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Community Health Nursing
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interdisciplinary Communication
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nurse's Role
  • Patient Care Team
  • Physician's Role
  • Physician-Nurse Relations*
  • Physicians, Family / psychology
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden
  • Workforce