Obstacles and opportunities for achieving good care on the surgical ward: nurse and surgeon perspective

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The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore and understand from the perspectives of nurses and surgeons the situations and processes that are important in the context of surgical care support or are obstacles to achieving good care.


Medical advances and inpatients with multiple illnesses are on the increase. In addition, a high turnover of registered nurses has been identified. This contributes to an increasingly inexperienced nursing staff. Concurrently, studies have shown that patient safety and quality of care are linked to organisational structures and staffing education levels.


Eight nurses and six surgeons from three hospitals were interviewed and data were analysed by systematic text condensation.


This identified three themes: shifting focus away from the patients, emphasising good communication, and using the competence of the team.


This study contributes to a deeper understanding that many interruptions, insufficient communication and unused competence can be a threat to patient safety. Sweden has a high standard but this study elucidates that challenges remain to be resolved.

Implications for nursing management

The focus on patients can increase by a balance between direct/indirect patient work and administration and by the support of clinicians using their full professional competence.

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