Nurse-doctor interactions during critical care ward rounds Academic Article uri icon


  • This paper describes the participation of critical care nurses in ward rounds, and explores the power relations associated with the ways in which nurses interact with doctors during this oral forum of communication. The study comprised a critical ethnographic study of six registered nurses working in a critical care unit. Data collection methods involved professional journalling, participant observation, and individual and focus group interviews with the six participating nurses. Findings demonstrated that doctors used nurses to supplement information and provide extra detail about patient assessment during ward rounds. Nurses experienced enormous barriers to participating in decision-making activities during ward round discussions. By challenging the different points of view that doctors and nurses might hold about the ward round process, the opportunity exists for enhanced participation by nurses.

publication date

  • July 20, 2001

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