Critical care nurses' experiences of helicopter transfers

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Abstract

Background:

Intensive care is conducted in intensive care units (ICUs), and also during the transportation of critically ill people.

Aim:

The aim of the study was to describe critical care nurses' (CCNs) experiences of nursing critically ill patients during helicopter transport.

Participants:

Seven CCNs, five women and two men participated in this study.

Design:

Seven participants from two centres in Sweden were recruited. The design uses an inductive, qualitative approach with data collected by means of qualitative interviews with seven CCNs.

Methods:

The interviews were transcribed verbatim and subjected to qualitative thematic content analysis.

Results:

The analysis resulted in one theme which is safe nursing care, but sometimes feeling afraid and six categories as follows: experiencing the care environment as an ICU with limited space; a loud environment complicates communication; planning and checking to minimize risks; experience and good co-operation; facing the dilemma of allowing relatives to accompany the patient or not; feeling the patient's and their own fear.

Conclusion:

CCNs plan for the transportation and control of patients to improve patient safety, but can sometimes feel afraid. Good co-operation is necessary.

Relevance to clinical practice:

The possibilities for CCNs to provide effective nursing care in helicopters are good, although in some cases limited by the environmental conditions.

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