In nursing, different types of power are at play in the operating room. The nursing team usually has a leader or matron who is responsible for organizing and delegating their duties that will be carried out. Further, based on his or her position, the matron uses his position to liaise with the head physician on the approach that will be used during an operation. The physician has expert power, which is used to provide directions to the nursing team via the matron or head nurse. The head nurse having this information has the informational power to influence nurses and allow the operation to go smoothly. The nursing teams itself by association with the head nurse are able to learn what is expected of them in the operation room and this shows referent power. In this scenario, the head nurse selects the best nursing team to handle the task.
Tension was experienced in the operation room in cases where communication between the physician and the nurse was not clear. This was the case in situations where the nurse was not familiar with some of the tools or equipment’s that are available for use by the physician. Further, power dynamics was experienced in situations where one nurse suggested to the doctor to take a certain recommended approach, but the doctor declined and decided to apply a different but not recommended approach. Even though it worked, this showed that the physician was not going to let a nurse dictate on what recommended procedure to take. It was like the physician felt undermined by the nurse’s comment. Additionally, in certain situations some of the nurses felt that it was better to remain silent for fear of showing lack of knowledge. According to Gardezi, Lingard, Espin, Whyte, Orser, and Baker (2009), most of the nurses use silence as a means of trying to compensate for their lack of knowledge. However, certain silences may be away of undermining the power the physician may have over the nurses.
Gender has a significant influence in affecting the power dynamics. The physicians especially the female ones in certain cases are rude the female nurses. This is because the physician position is associated with having power to influence especially in terms of authority. Education also seems to be an issue with the physicians seeing themselves to be educated than the nurses.
The organization has developed a code of conduct and provided avenues for reporting cases where doctors have acted unethically or showed disrespect to nurses. The doctors can also use the same avenues to report unethical conduct from the nurses. Further, the organization has increased its efforts to increase awareness among the nurses on the required level of professionalism when conducting their duties.
The organization can set up a program that continues to empower the nurses in an effort to make them aware of the advances that take place in the nursing practice. This will help the nurses to take pride in their profession and help reduce any gender related biasness that they may experience. According to Sirota (2007), the nurses can form collaborative work groups where the nurses share their clinical expertise among one another. This will help achieve empowerment among the nurses. Furthermore, the organization can take measures to ensure that nurses are involved in the interdisciplinary committees where they can be able to influence policies and procedures used in the organization (Sirota, 2007).
The organization can also take the necessary steps to improve the relationship between nurses and physicians by improving communication between the two groups. Nurses are encouraged to be responsible for their actions. Through professional empowerment, the nurses can be able to foster better relationships with the physicians (Manojlovich, 2007).
Gardezi, F., Lingard, L., Espin, S., Whyte, S., Orser, B., & Baker, G. (2009). Silence, power, and communication in the operating room. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 65(7), 1390-1399.
Manojlovich, M. (2007). Power and Empowerment in Nursing: Looking Backward To Inform the Future. Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 12(1), 15.
Sirota, T. (2007). Nurse/physician relationships Improving or not? (Cover story). Nursing, 37(1), 52-56.