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Nurses ‘easier’ to challenge

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Patients prefer to challenge nurses rather than doctors about safety issues, a UK study has suggested.

Researchers at St Mary’s Hospital in London surveyed 80 surgical patients on factors that influenced their willingness to ask healthcare professionals about safety concerns.

Patients were more likely to ask factual questions of doctors but were more likely to ask nurses challenging questions, such as whether they had washed their hands.

Patients may view doctors as ‘more authoritarian’ than nurses, the authors said.

Quality and Safety in Health Care (2008) 17: 90–96

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