Interprofessional intensive care unit team interactions and medical crises: a qualitative study

National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education's picture
Submitted by National Center... on Mar 14, 2014 - 11:14am CDT

Research has suggested that interprofessional collaboration could improve patient outcomes in the intensive care unit (ICU). Maintaining optimal interprofessional interactions in a setting where unpredictable medical crises occur periodically is however challenging. Our study aimed to investigate the perceptions of ICU health care professionals regarding how acute medical crises affect their team interactions. We conducted 25 semi-structured interviews of ICU nurses, staff physicians, and respiratory therapists. All interviews were audio-taped and transcribed, and the analysis was undertaken using an inductive thematic approach. Our data indicated that the nature of interprofessional interactions changed as teams passed through three key temporal periods around medical crises. During the "pre-crisis period", interactions were based on the mutual respect of each other's expertise. During the "crisis period", hierarchical interactions were expected and a certain lack of civility was tolerated. During the "post-crisis period", divergent perceptions emerged amongst health professionals. Post-crisis team dispersion left the nurses with questions and emotions not expressed by other team members. Nurses believed that systematic interprofessional feedback sessions held immediately after a crisis could address some of their needs. Further research is needed to establish the possible benefits of strategies addressing ICU health care professionals' specific needs for interprofessional feedback after a medical crisis.

PubMed URL:

Piquette, Dominique
Reeves, Scott
Leblanc, Vicki R
Journal Citation: 
Journal of Interprofessional Care. 23(3):273-85, 2009 May.