Critical Care Nurses' Perceptions of Their Roles in Family-Team Conflicts Related to Treatment Plans

Marie Patricia Edwards, Karen Throndson, Felicia Dyck

Abstract


Conflict over treatment plans is a cause of concern for those working in critical care environments. The purpose of this study was to explore and describe critical care nurses' perceptions of their roles in situations of conflict between family members and health-care providers in intensive care units. Using a qualitative descriptive design, 12 critical care nurses were interviewed individually and 4 experienced critical care nurses participated in focus group interviews. The roles described by the nurses were as follows: providing safe, competent, quality care to patients; building or restoring relationships of trust with families; and supporting other nurses. The nurses highlighted the level of stress when conflict arises, the need to be cautious in providing care and communicating with family members, and the need for support for nurses. More research related to working in situations of conflict is required, as is enhanced education for critical care nurses.

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