Navigating Relationships: Nursing Teamwork in the Care of Older Adults

Sherry Dahlke, Mary Fox


As people age there is increasing incidence of chronic illness and atypical presentations of acute illness. Although research suggests that the care of older adults is improved when there is collaboration between nursing staff and other health professionals, there is no clear understanding of how this might occur. This qualitative study describes how how nursing staff work in teams to provide and manage the care of hospitalized older adults. Navigating relationships offers valuable insights into the perspectives of nursing staff working in teams with one another, with their operational leaders, and with other professionals. The language they used contributed to their perceptions of being undervalued within interprofessional teams, which in turn undermined their efforts to navigate relationships. Care for hospitalized older adults would be advanced through the provision of opportunities for interprofessional teams to learn the perspectives of nursing staff.

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