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Communication between therapists and nurses working in inpatient interprofessional teams: Systematic review and meta-ethnography

Barnard, R. A., Jones, J. C. & Cruice, M. ORCID: 0000-0001-7344-2262 (2020). Communication between therapists and nurses working in inpatient interprofessional teams: Systematic review and meta-ethnography. Disability and Rehabilitation, 42(10), pp. 1339-1349. doi: 10.1080/09638288.2018.1526335


Purpose: The aim of the synthesis was to develop new understanding about the influences on communication in interprofessional teams from therapist and nurse perspectives.

Methods: Six electronic databases were searched, combined with citation tracking and hand searching, yielding 3994 papers. Three researchers were involved in screening and quality appraisal, resulting in 18 papers for synthesis, using the process of meta-ethnography. Concepts were identified, compared and translated under five category headings. Two researchers mapped interpretative summaries and a line of argument was created.

Results: The line of argument is that four inter-related contingences underpin effective communication between therapists and nurses. Effective communication depends on there being a genuine need to give and receive information for patient care, the capacity to attend to, hold, and use information, and opportunities to share space to enable communication to occur. The fourth contingency is good quality relationships and this is the glue that holds the contingencies together.

Conclusion: This synthesis has provided an opportunity to illuminate how therapists and nurses accomplish interprofessional work through communication. The contingencies of need, capacity, opportunity and quality of relationships create a new structure for understanding what underpins communication between these two groups.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Disability and Rehabilitation on 4 Dec 2018, available online:
Publisher Keywords: communication; relationships; interprofessional; therapist; nursing
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
R Medicine
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Language & Communication Science
Text - Accepted Version
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