The nurse-patient relationship in the post-anaesthetic care unit
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The nurse-patient relationship in the post-anaesthetic care unit

Joanne Reynolds senior lecturer in perioperative practice, Faculty of Health and Applied Social Science, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, Liverpool Primary Care Trust
Ros Carnwell Professor and director, Centre for Health and Community Research, Glyndwr University, Wrexham

Aim To explore how post-anaesthetic care (PAC) nurses perceive their role, acknowledging the activities that they undertake routinely in their practice.

Method A generic qualitative research approach was used; eight PAC nurses were interviewed, with each interview lasting between 30 minutes and one hour.

Findings A salient finding related to the psychosocial dimension of nursing, with much of the data referring to the nurse-patient relationship pre and post-operatively. Three themes were identified: communication, being an advocate and being remembered.

Conclusion The findings suggest that PAC nurses have the opportunity to develop relationships with patients both pre-operatively when the patients arrive in the operating department and post-operatively. The findings may help to challenge existing beliefs that when patients are in the care of PAC nurses, they are unconscious and therefore unable to engage in dialogue with the nurse. While the findings reflect the views of PAC nurses only, operating department practitioners might hold similar views. This study highlighted that there may be potential for development of the role of the PAC nurse, and as there is little documented about this role, further research is warranted.

Nursing Standard. 24, 15, 40-46. doi: 10.7748/ns2009.


Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review