A nursing perspective of interprofessional work in critical care: Findings from a secondary analysis

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Abstract

Purpose:

This article presents a secondary analysis of nurse interviews from a 2-year comparative ethnographic study exploring cultures of collaboration across intensive care units (ICU). Critically ill patients rely on their interprofessional health care team to communicate and problem-solve quickly to give patients the best outcome available. Critical care nurses function at the hub of patient care giving them a distinct perspective of how interprofessional interactions impact collaborative practice.

Materials and methods:

Secondary analysis of a subset of primary qualitative data is appropriate when analysis extends rather than exceeds the primary study aim. Primary ethnographic data included 178 semistructured interviews of ICU professionals from 8 medical-surgical ICUs in North America; purposeful maximum variation sampling was used to represent each profession accurately. Fifteen anonymized ICU nurse interview transcripts were coded iteratively to identify emerging themes impacting interprofessional collaborative practice.

Results:

Findings suggest that quality of interprofessional collaboration is a product of a multitude of factors occurring at multiple levels within the organization. Managerial and organizational factors related to ICU nurse training and staffing may impede development of nurses' interprofessional skills.

Conclusion:

Deliberative development of ICU nurses' interprofessional skills is essential if nursing is to move from primary coordinator to active collaborator in patient management.

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