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The relationship between intensive care units’ nurses and patients’ relatives: Trends for change

Author(s): Concha Zaforteza | Denise Gastaldo | Pilar Sánchez-Cuenca | Joan E. de Pedro | Pedro Lastra

Journal: NURE Investigacion
ISSN 1697-218X

Volume: 1;
Issue: 3;
Date: 2004;
Original page

Keywords: Intensive care | nurse-patient relationship | nurse-physician relationship | family | relatives | change

Study´s purpose: To find out which are ICU nurses’ expectations regarding their relationship with ICU patients’ relatives and how to care for them. Methods: This paper is part of a wider research project entitled “Factors that influence the relationship between ICU nurses and critically ill patient’s relatives”. This is a qualitative study based on a poststructuralist perspective. It was conducted in 3 Spanish public hospitals’ ICUs situated in the island of Mallorca. Data were collected through 8 participant observations and 6 semi-structured interviews. The observation descriptions and interviews’ transcriptions were analyzed through the codification of units of meaning. Rigour was assured by the triangulation of sources and methods and by reaching saturation of the main categories of analysis. Results: Nurses considered that their role as information givers is not sufficient and some wished to have a greater participation in the caring process of patient´s relatives. Some of them also wished to make the unit restrictive access more flexible. A certain resistance was shown towards the physician centralism in the process of providing information as well as towards the design of rules governing the relationship between professionals and relatives. Conclusions: We identified that ICU nurses attitude is intended for change, but different levels of commitment was observed regarding involvement in the care of ICU patient’s family.
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