Author(s): Brand SL
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Abstract An ethnographic approach was used to investigate the roles which nurses take in the discharge decision making process in an adult High Dependency Unit (HDU). Participant observation and unstructured interviews were the data collection methods used. Four themes were identified. The first theme encompassed the relationship of nurses with medical staff. Tension was felt between nursing and medical staff, although this was not demonstrated in direct communication between the two professions. Nurses took a submissive role in order to avoid conflict, but this also enabled them to manipulate doctors. Another theme was the unique value of the nurse which was defined as the 'holistic' view which nurses took towards patients which was different to that taken by other health care professionals. Nurses undertook an important administrative role. They had substantial responsibility for bed management and became more proactive in decision-making when there was pressure on HDU beds. Issues associated with decision making were highlighted, as although nurses wanted to contribute to discharge decision making, they were often uncomfortable with this role. There is scope for further investigation into the working relationship of nurses and medical staff, how administrative roles of nurses influence their ability to provide patient care and whether the opinions expressed with regard to decision making are widespread within the nursing community.
This article was published in Intensive Crit Care Nurs
and referenced in Journal of Entrepreneurship & Organization Management