Book Review: Communicating in Hospital Emergency Departments

By | 26th November 2015
This book outlines the research findings of a three-year project. It effectively draws the reader into wanting to know more, causes the readers to reflect on their own practice, and clearly identifies which actions need to be taken by the readers to improve their practice. This book is written in such a way to achieve all of this.
The nine authors outline how seven experienced researchers undertook a research initiative conducted in five emergency departments over a three-year period.
The researchers were motivated to conduct the research project by concerns that failures in communication have been identified as “a major cause of adverse events, leading to avoidable patient harm”. The researchers collectively spent 1093.5 hours in the emergency departments and applied qualitative ethnographic methodology. This analysis, together with sociolinguistic and discourse analysis of the spoken interactions between clinicians and patients, enables the researchers to identify key features of successful and unsuccessful interactions between clinicians and patients and also between clinical staff. As a result, the authors identified systemic improvements that could lead to safer practices and improve the quality of patient care.
The research clearly examines all aspects of communication between the clinical team working with the patient (including spoken, gestured, written and electronic communication) and is therefore very relevant to readers interested in interprofessional care of patients in emergency departments.
The book is presented in seven sections which effectively: outlines the need for good communication, reviews the emergency department environment, examines the patient’s journey through the department, details the communication patterns, looks specifically at the communication of medical information between the patient and the clinical staff, explores strategies for bridging the communication gap, and suggests strategies to promote change in ways of working and communicating.
The authors provide detailed descriptions of all aspects of working in emergency departments, and present a series of vignettes and case studies which demonstrate the complexities of communication. The authors then identify key moments where effective communication is at risk. The use of tables, graphs and diagrammatic representations very effectively complements the text, and each chapter includes a comprehensive list of references.
This book is an essential text for anyone working in an emergency department, as well as being of interest to interprofessional researchers, educators, practitioners and students internationally. I am pleased to recommend this book to readers who want to improve their working relationships as a health care team or increase their knowledge of communication among interprofessional teams.
Reviewed by 
Dawn Forman, Visiting Professor, University of Derby and Chichester University and Adjunct Professor Curtin University and Auckland University of Technology
Communicating in Hospital Emergency Departments by Diana Slade, Marie Manidis, Jeannette McGregor, Hermine Scheeres, Eloise Chandler, Jane Stein-Parbury, Roger Dunston, Maria Herke, Christian M.I.M. Matthiessen
Springer, Heidelberg, New York, Dordrecht, London, 2015, 158 pages Price €99.99 (hard copy) or €83.29 (eBook). ISBN 978-3-662-46020-7