ICU nurses and physicians dialogue regarding patients clinical status and care options : a focus group study
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionInternational Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being. 2017, 12 (1), 1-8. 10.1080/17482631.2016.1267346
Nurses and physicians work side-by-side in the intensive care unit (ICU). Effective exchanges of patient information are essential to safe patient care in the ICU. Nurses often rate nursephysician communication lower than physicians and report that it is difficult to speak up, that disagreements are not resolved and that their input is not well received. Therefore, this study explored nurses’ dialogue with physicians regarding patients’ clinical status and the prerequisites for effective and accurate exchanges of information. We adopted a qualitative approach, conducting three focus group discussions with five to six nurses and physicians each (14 total). Two themes emerged. The first theme highlighted nurses’ contributions to dialogues with physicians; nurses’ ongoing observations of patients were essential to patient care discussions. The second theme addressed the prerequisites of accurate and effective dialogue regarding care options, comprising three subthemes: nurses’ ability to speak up and present clinical changes, establishment of shared goal and clinical understanding, and open dialogue and willingness to listen to each other. Nurses should understand their essential role in conducting ongoing observations of patients and their right to be included in care-related decision-making processes. Physicians should be willing to listen to and include nurses’ clinical observations and concerns.