Julie Apker

Julie Apker

Julie Apker

Dr. Julie Apker Associate Professor

321 Sprau Tower
(269) 387-3140

Dr. Apker

Communication by Health Organizations by Julie Apker

About the book: Communication in Health Organizations explores the communication processes, issues, and concepts that comprise the organization of health care, focusing on the interactions that influence the lives of patients, health professionals, and other members of health institutions.
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Education: B.A., Communication, Univ. of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. M.A. & Ph.D., Communication Studies, Univ. of Kansas.

Julie Apker, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Communication, joined the faculty at Western Michigan University in 2001, where she teaches and conducts research in organizational and health communication. Prior to her academic career, Dr. Apker spent several years working as a public relations specialist and marketing communications associate.

Dr. Apker’s research work appears in publications such as Journal of Applied Communication Research, Health Communication, Qualitative Health Research, Journal of Nursing Administration, Nursing Economic$, Annals of Emergency Medicine, and Academic Emergency Medicine. She serves on the editorial board of Health Communication and Communication Monographs.

Teaching Philosophy:

As a teacher, I believe that each course I lead is an opportunity to establish a learning community made up of collaborative partnerships with students. I bring knowledge and expertise based on my scholarship and experience whereas students bring their questions, ideas, opinions, and experiences based on their past experiences and coursework.

Research Interests:

My research interests are in the intersection of Organizational Communication and Health Communication. My specific areas of specialization are:

  • physician communication patterns and strategies that affect patient safety.
  • development and negotiation of caregiver roles, particularly communicative behaviors that affect bedside care delivery and caregiver identity
  • communicative and organizational stressors that contribute to outcomes such as quality of work life, job satisfaction, and retention.
  • supportive communication that helps minimize or prevent job-related stressors and enhances team dynamics.
  • qualitative research methods (e.g. focus groups, personal interviews, observations).

Courses I teach:

COM 2800: Introduction to Organization Communication

This course is designed to provide an overview of and introduction to the nature and processes of communication in the organizational setting. Emphasis will be placed on examination of organizational communication at the theoretical level, but the course will also look at the application of these theoretical approaches to better understand important organizational processes and to facilitate one’s success in organizational life. See sample syllabus from a previous semester at COM 2800 syllabus


COM 6820: Organizational Communication

This seminar course addresses the major theories, assumptions, and relevant topics associated with the study of organizational communication. Course content will provide students with an overview of foundational issues considered relevant to current and future study of organizational communication processes and paradigms.

Students will examine and critique fundamental theories and contemporary research in the field of organizational communication. They will apply traditional theories and recent research findings to organizational life experiences and case studies. Students will also learn to both utilize and generate knowledge pertaining to the study of organizational communication. A critical and ongoing aspect of this course is to apply theoretical concepts to the experiences of organizations of which we are a part (e.g., employing institutions, volunteer organizations, professional affiliations, universities/colleges).

Sample Publications:

Propp, K. M., Apker, J., Ford, W. S. Z., Wallace, N., Serbenski, M, Hofmeister, N. (2010). Meeting the complex needs of the healthcare team: Identifying nurse-team communication practices perceived to enhance patient outcomes. Qualitative Health Research, 20, 15-28.

Apker, J., Mallak, L. A., Applegate, B. A., Gibson, S. C., Ham, J.J., Johnson, N. & Street, R. L., Jr. (2010). Exploring emergency physician-hospitalist handoff interactions: Development and use of the handoff communication assessment. Annals of Emergency Medicine, 55, 161-170.

Apker, J., Propp, K. M., & Ford, W. S. Z. (2009). Investigating the Effect of Nurse-Team Communication on Nurse Turnover: Relationships among Communication Processes, Identification, and Intent to Leave. Health Communication, 24, 106-114.

Apker, J., Propp, K. M., & Ford, W. S. Z. (2006). Collaboration, credibility, compassion, and coordination: Professional nurse communication skill sets in healthcare team interactions. Journal of Professional Nursing, 22, 180-189.

Apker, J., Propp, K. M., & Ford, W.S.Z. (2005). Negotiating status and identity tensions in healthcare team Interactions: An exploration of nurse role dialectics. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 33.  

Apker, J. (2004). Sensemaking of change in the managed care era: A case of hospital-based nurses. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 17, 211-227.

Apker, J. & Eggly, S. (2004). Communicating professional identity in medical socialization: Considering the ideological discourse of morning report. Qualitative >Health Research, 14,

Apker, J., Ford, W. S. Z., & Fox. D. (2003). Predicting nurses’ organizational and professional identification: The effect of nursing roles, professional autonomy, and supportive communication. Nursing Economic$, 21, 226-232.

Apker, J. & Ray, E.B. (2003). Stress and social support in health care organizations. In T. Thompson, A. Dorsey, K. Miller & R.A. Parrott (Eds.), Handbook of health communication, (347-368). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Apker, J. & Fox, D.H. (2002). Communication: Improving RNs' organizational and professional identification in managed care hospitals. Journal of Nursing Administration, 32, 106-113

Apker, J. (2001). Role development in the managed care era: A case of hospital-based nursing. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 29, 117-136.


School of Communication
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5318 USA
(269) 387-3130 | (269) 387-3990 Fax