Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design


Denham, Bryan E.

Committee Member

Pruitt , Rosanne H.

Committee Member

Blakesley , David

Committee Member

Heifferon , Barbara A.


This mixed methods study in inter-professional health communication assesses the pedagogical role of writing and visual communication in the education of non-traditional and traditional Nursing students as they interpret and apply the concepts of message framing and message reception in nurse-physician communication. To achieve that goal, this study analyzes the dynamics of terministic screens as message frames that can determine message reception in nurse-physician communication regarding the status of an acute care patient.
The study was conducted in two Nursing writing and communication classes during the Spring 2011 semester. Two study groups (combined across classes) included a mixed population of traditional and non-traditional undergraduate Nursing students. During the same week in March 2011, one study group viewed the YouTube video Of Lions and Lambs. Another study group read the transcript of the video. Each group completed pre- and post-intervention Likert-style questionnaires designed to elicit perceptions regarding the efficacy of nurse-physician communication, as reflected in the print or video scenario. Each group also completed three post-intervention qualitative surveys. The qualitative free-writing arm of the study included a focus on situated dialogic learning regarding determinants of effective inter-professional communication.
Nonparametric ANOVA analyses were conducted to assess the quantitative Likert data. A discourse analysis was conducted to assess the qualitative free-writing data. Those analyses suggest that the agency of the spoken word to support or confound clinical ethos and patient care is exemplified in the video and script for Of Lions and Lambs. This study suggests a role for combined print and video pedagogies to teach and assess effective versus ineffective nurse-physician communication in acute patient care. More research is needed to confirm how best to combine those pedagogies in traditional and new media contexts. Additional quantitative and qualitative results when complete may help to clarify those issues.

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