Enablers and challenges of caring in the intensive care unit-Part 1: In relation to patients, families and ICU environment

Hanan Subhi Al-Shamaly


The concept of caring is vague and complex, especially in critical environments such as the intensive care unit (ICU). ICU nursing care includes not only patients but also extends to patients’ families, nurses, other health team members and the unit’s environment. A focused ethnographic study was conducted in an Australian ICU. The data was collected from 35 registered nurses through various resources: participants' observations, documents reviews, interviews, and additional participants’ notes. Data were analysed inductively and thematically. The study outlines comprehensively and widely a wide range of enablers and challenges affecting caring in the ICU - which originate from different sources such as patients, families, nurses and the ICU environment. Nurses and other stakeholders such as clinicians, educators, researchers, managers and policymakers need to recognise these factors and their implications for providing quality care in order to enhance and maintain the optimal level of caring in the ICU. This paper is the first in a two-part series that explores the enablers and challenges to caring in the ICU. This paper explores the ICU nurses’ experiences and perspectives of the enablers and challenges to caring in the intensive care setting, in relation to patients, families and the ICU environment, while the second part will be concerned with the enablers and challenges of caring that are related to the nurses in ICU.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/jnep.v12n1p69

Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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