Background: To be able to further develop the pre-hospital emergency care from a nursing perspective, both in the clinical setting and in the educational setting, it is important to get a better understanding and clarification of the pre-hospital nurse-patient relationship. Therefore, a study was conducted (Berntsson and Hildingh, 2012) to explore how the phases of the pre-hospital nurse–patient relationship described by Suserud (Dahlberg et al., 2003), emerge in 17 specialist ambulance nursing students (SANs) descriptions of ambulance missions.
Methods: The study has a descriptive design and uses a qualitative research method. An analysis method, qualitative content analysis with a directed approach, was used. A directed approach means that the analysis is based on existing theory or prior research (Hsieh and Shannon, 2005). In this study we decided to use Suserud’s description (Dahlberg et al., 2003) of the phases of the prehospital nurse–patient relationship to govern the analysis and the identification of categories.
Results: In the orientation phase of the pre-hospital nurse–patient relationship, there was an ongoing analysis process in which the SANSs were seeking to obtain an initial picture of the situation, this was made by: understand the situation with support from the EMD team, from a collegial discussion, from one’s own first assessment, from the patients and relatives or witnesses description, from the colleague’s actions, from some other health-care professional’s assessments and actions.
In the identification phase of the nurse–patient relationship, the SANSs made an extended assessment of the situation to understand the patient’s current needs, this was made by; assess the airway, the breathing, the circulation, the consciousness, the level and experience of pain, perform a head to toe assessment, collecting the patients’ health history and note aggravating environmental factors for care and transfer.
In the exploitation phase of the pre-hospital nurse–patient relationships, the SANSs focus was on the hands-on care of the patient, this was made by; provide care by managing ABC problems, assessing the cause for the disability problem, managing head-to toe problem, performing actions to prevent hypothermia, creating an intravenous access, managing pain problems, transferring the patient to the stretcher and the ambulance, assessing the patient’s vital signs and by selecting appropriate driving speed.
In the resolution phase the SANSs targeted their attention towards the receiving care unit and the forthcoming care, this was made by; pre-warn or speak with the receiving unit, inform the patient about the continuing care in the receiving care unit, transfer the patient from the ambulance stretcher on the receiving unit, report to the receiving care unit, finish the nurse–patient relationship and follow up the patient’s condition.
Conclusion: The results of the study show that the phases in the nurse–patient relationship, as described by Suserud (Dahlberg et al., 2003), appeared in the SANSs descriptions of ambulance missions. Furthermore, the study reveals that each phase of pre-hospital nurse–patient relationship includes several parts; these findings extend Suserud’s (Dahlberg et al., 2003) description.