Healthcare service provider perceptions of organisational communication across the perioperative pathway: A questionnaire survey

Sandra Braaf, Elizabeth Manias, Sue Finch, Robin Riley, Fiona Munro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Aims and objectives. To gain understandings into service providers' perceptions of organisational communication and identify areas for improvement across the perioperative pathway. Background. Effective communication among healthcare service providers is vital to the delivery of safe and quality patient care. Locally and internationally, research into sentinel and adverse events consistently demonstrate the perioperative environment and communication breakdown as recurring constituents in the generation of sentinel and adverse patient events. Design. Prospective cross-sectional survey design. Methods. Using a whole population sampling method all service providers from across the perioperative pathway including surgeons, nurses, anaesthetists, theatre technicians, patient service assistants and receptionists were surveyed using the International Communication Association survey. Responses were analysed using descriptive statistics, univariate analysis of variance and independent samples t-tests. Results. In total, 281 service providers from the perioperative pathway of three Australian public hospitals completed the survey. Respondents were dissatisfied with communication from top management and service providers employed in an operating room or postanaesthetic care unit perceived the communication of information to be inadequate. Further, analysis by service providers' occupation revealed nurses were less satisfied with channels of information than surgeons and anaesthetists were less satisfied with the timeliness of information than nurses. Conclusions. Restricted communication flow was evident as many areas of organisational communication were reported to be insufficient for the transmission of information. This research highlights the need for improved communication flow between service providers, and between management and service providers, working across the perioperative pathway. Relevance to clinical practice. Areas identified for communication improvement can be used to prevent communication failures and promote effective communication strategies such as meetings, education, providing time for open communication and developing organisational policy and procedures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-191
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Communication
  • Cross-sectional studies
  • Healthcare quality
  • Perioperative

Cite this