Poor communication is a major contributor to sentinel events in hospitals. Suboptimal communication between physicians and nurses may be due to poor understanding of team members’ roles. We sought to evaluate the impact of a shadowing experience on nurse–resident interprofessional collaboration, bidirectional communication, and role perceptions.


This mixed-methods study took place at 2 large academic children’s hospitals with pediatric residency programs during the 2018–2019 academic year. First-year residents and nurses participated in a reciprocal, structured 4-hour shadowing experience. Participants were surveyed before, immediately after, and 6 months after their shadowing experience by using an anonymous web-based platform containing the 20-item Interprofessional Collaborative Competency Attainment Survey, as well as open-ended qualitative questions. Quantitative data were analyzed via linear mixed models. Qualitative data were thematically analyzed.


Participants included 33 nurses and 53 residents from the 2 study sites. The immediate postshadowing survey results revealed statistically significant improvements in 12 Interprofessional Collaborative Competency Attainment Survey question responses for nurses and 19 for residents (P ≤ .01). Subsequently, 6 questions for nurses and 17 for residents revealed sustained improvements 6 months after the intervention. Qualitative analysis identified 5 major themes related to optimal nurse–resident engagement: effective communication, collaboration, role understanding, team process, and patient-centered.


The reciprocal shadowing experience was associated with an increase in participant understanding of contributions from all interprofessional team members. This improved awareness may improve patient care. Future work may be conducted to assess the impact of spread to different clinical areas and elucidate patient outcomes that may be associated with this intervention.

You do not currently have access to this content.