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collaboration skills, communicator styles, interdisciplinary collaboration



  1. Coeling, Harriet Van Ess PhD, RN
  2. Cukr, Penelope L. DNSc, RN


Interdisciplinary collaboration has been identified as an essential element of quality health care. Often, however, the degree of interdisciplinary collaboration in health care settings is limited. This failure to collaborate is usually not due to ill intent, but rather to a lack of collaboration skills. This article notes the need for very tangible, behaviorally specific ways to describe collaboration. Norton's Theory of Communicator Styles was used as a framework to identify the effect of three specific communication behaviors (styles)-namely, dominant, contentious, and attentive styles-on nurses' perceptions of collaboration, quality of care, or satisfaction with the interaction. Suggestions for teaching these three styles to health care professionals are provided.