Information sharing by nurses in intensive care units with and without interdisciplinary rounds




James, Lynne

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Situation awareness and distributed situation awareness are important concepts in critical care, where large interdisciplinary teams must coordinate their activities through information sharing to provide lifesaving treatment to patients. Little is known, however, about how nurses contribute to distributed situation awareness in different types of intensive care settings. The purpose of this study was to explore information sharing by nurses in two intensive care units, with and without interdisciplinary rounds. The method of rapid qualitative inquiry was used, which emphasizes data triangulation and iterative data analysis. In each of two intensive care units studied, four RNs were observed for eight hours each, and the content and characteristics of information sharing were recorded. This was followed by chart reviews to determine the impact of information sharing by nurses on patient care. The results demonstrated that there was little difference in the type of information shared, the pattern of information sharing by nurses in the two units, and the impact that information sharing had on patient care. An important exception, however, was that nurses in the unit without interdisciplinary rounds contacted physicians twice as often as nurses in the unit with interdisciplinary rounds. The results were integrated into a revised model of distributed situation awareness.



nurse, nursing, information sharing, critical care, rounds