The aim of the study was to investigate the physician and nursing perceptions regarding communication and collaboration as well as the factors that may influence these activities. A self-administered questionnaire survey was sent to a random sample of 93 physicians and 197 nurses based in two large public hospitals in Athens, Greece. Descriptive statistics, t-test and chi square test were performed with the SPSS 19.0 statistical package. Years of experience, the size of the clinic, the university degree and the postgraduate studies were found to be significant factors according to nurses' view (p < 0.05). For the physicians, age, sex, years of experience and the size of clinic affected the communication and collaboration with the nursing staff significantly (p < 0.05). In summary, these findings suggest that nurses and physicians do not share the same views concerning the effectiveness of their communication and nurses' role in the decision-making process of the patients' care. The most important barrier for the establishment of good relations between these professions, according to the physicians, was that they did not recognize the nurses' professional role. The study also indicated that the absence of interprofessional collaboration may result in a higher possibility of errors and omissions in patients' care. Therefore, in everyday practice, both nurses and physicians should acknowledge the importance of their effective communication and they should develop and implement interprofessional teamwork interventions to improve collaboration. Moreover, nurses have to constantly consolidate their role in the decision process and patients' care, especially in countries with limited interprofessional collaboration culture. In addition, factors that improve physicians' attitudes toward collaboration and effective communication should be further explored.
Keywords: Communication; interprofessional collaboration; nurses; physicians; relationship.