E-mail as a Communication Tool in Army Nursing Management


Name: Caterina Lasome

Rank: MAJ, USA

Organization: Henry M. Jackson Foundation

Performance Site: Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington DC; Dewitt Army Community Hospital, Fort Belvoir, VA; Kimbrough Ambulatory Care Center, Fort Meade, MD

Year Published: 1999

Abstract Status: Final


Purpose: Grounded in communication theory and using the Ross Communication Model, the purpose of this study was to: (1) determine the impact of Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) on the management relationship between Head Nurses (HNs) and Clinical Staf Nurses (CSNs) in a military health care setting, and (2) determine the consistency between perceptions versus actual messages sent by CMC.Methods: Data were collected using semistructured interviews and CMC transcripts between HNs and CSNs. Interviews were conducted over a 13-month period with participants working in three military treatment facilities located on the east coast (medical center, community hospital, ambulatory care clinic). A textual analysis of a two-week sample of CMC between HNs and their respective CSNs was conducted concurrently. Interviews were tape-recorded and transcribed verbatim. CMC text was analyzed in its original form. Data were analyzed using the constant comparative method. The QRS NUD*IST software program was employed to manage the data.Findings: The sample consisted of 22 active duty Army nurses working in a broad range of practice areas. Nine were nurse managers (8 female; 1 male), and 13 were staff nurses (8 female; 5 male). Ages ranged from 24 to 51 years (mean:36 years). The basic social problem that emerged was ambiguity in CMC. This arose from a lack of clear rules governing the use of CMC, redundant communication systems, lack of training, an ill-defined culture surrounding CMC use, and lack of nonverbal cues to support message interpretation or comprehension. Regardless of the source of ambiguity, each person employed strategies for adapting, based upon a set of interacting circumstances in which the CMC was embedded. Conclusions/Recommendations: This study provides an understanding of HN-CSN CMC patterns. Because HNs and CSNs can communicate via CMC, they spend less time in direct face-to-face (F2F) communication. Participants expressed satisfaction with the balance between CMC, F2F, and other communication modes. Recommendations regarding use of CMC in nursing include establishing organizational policies for appropriate CMC use, establishing boundaries for CMC content, and defining user entitlements related to CMC.


Final report is available on NTRL: https://ntrl.ntis.gov/NTRL/dashboard/searchResults/titleDetail/PB2008108...