Nurses' experiences of interactions with family members in intensive care units.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The purpose of this study was to describe nurses' experiences of interactions with family members in intensive care units. Ten experienced Registered Nurses were interviewed, and the interview text was qualitatively analysed by its content. Nursing of families was experienced as an essential, necessary and demanding task, and no systematic assessment and intervention with families were talked about. Two categories emerged from nurses' descriptions: inviting and noninviting interactions between nurses and family members. Inviting interactions were considered when family members were seen as important in the nursing care. The nurses used themselves as instruments to create contact and felt confident working with the family members. Thereby the nurses were forced to reflect on their way of caring and received positive responses from family members. In noninviting interactions, medical and technical tasks were considered to be most important and the nurses considered themselves as experts. They expressed having little time for family members and described being afraid of coming too close to them and having problems with creating relationships. Further research, including direct observations of interactions between nurses and family members, is needed.


  • Ing-Marie Söderström
  • Eva Benzein
  • Britt-Inger Saveman
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Nursing
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-192
JournalScandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Department of Health Sciences (013220000), Division of Occupational Therapy (Closed 2012) (013025000), Unit of Gerontology and Care for the Elderly (Closed 2012) (016500500)

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