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Theatre Nurses Understanding of their Work: A phenomenographic study at a hospital theatre
Centrum för Forskning och Utveckling, Uppsala universitet/Region Gävleborg .
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences.
2008 (English)In: Journal of Advanced Perioperative Care, ISSN 1470-5664, Vol. 3, no 4, 149-155 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The operating theatre is a place where people work together in a multidisciplinary team. It has a very high patient through-put, and use of advanced technology and surgical routine. Working in an operating theatre has been described as dynamic and challenging. The nurse’s perspective of her/his practice role in the operating theatre department is poorly identified, a fact that makes it necessary for the theatre nurses themselves to define their role as nurses in the multidisciplinary team.

The aim of this study was to begin the work of describing the theatre nurses work using a qualitative descriptive design with a phenomenographic approach. A purposeful sample from two hospitals in Sweden was employed to select the 15 theatre nurses, the interviews formed the basis of this study.

As in several other phenomenographic studies three specific questions guided the data collection: What aspect of your practice do you find the easiest? What aspect of your practice do you find the most challenging? What do you think is the most important aspect of your practice? To deepen the interview, what and how questions were used to probe the responses.

The interviews were audio-taped and transcribed verbatim. The interviews were read several times, after which an analysis was undertaken.

The analysis revealed the following three understandings of the phenomenon of “the work of the theatre nurse”: Theatre nurses achieve control of the situation referred to having the appropriate equipment prepared in advance for the operation, the hygienic aspect, for example keeping the operation area, surgical instruments and people involved sterile, and to control patient, instrument and implant logistics by advance planning and being one step ahead.

The possibility of good teamwork is enhanced by being attentive to the spoken and unspoken wishes and needs of the patient as well as all members of the team, especially the surgeon; and Theatre nurses develop their professional practice through practical experience.

All three understandings that emerged in present study are useful for both competence development and quality improvement. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Harrogate, UK: Associations for Perioperative Practice , 2008. Vol. 3, no 4, 149-155 p.
Keyword [en]
Phenomenography, theatre nurse, ways of understanding, operating theatre
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Research subject
Caring Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-266337OAI: diva2:868094
Available from: 2015-11-09 Created: 2015-11-07 Last updated: 2016-01-13
In thesis
1. Attractive Work: Nurses´ work in operating departments, and factors that make it attractive
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Attractive Work: Nurses´ work in operating departments, and factors that make it attractive
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Background: Previous studies show that nurse retention is one of the most effective strategies to counteract nursing shortages. Few studies have focused on the crucial resource of registered specialist nurses in operating departments.

Aim: The overall aim of this thesis was to gain knowledge on registered specialist nurses’ and assistant nurses’ work in operating departments and on what factors they consider to be important for attractive work.

Methods: In Study I, operating room nurses were interviewed regarding their perspective on their work. In Studies II and III, specialist registered nurses and assistant nurses at operating departments in a Swedish county council responded to the Attractive Work Questionnaire. Study IV is a case study with interviews, a review of organisational goal documents and data concerning the number of planned, acute and cancelled operations.

Findings: The adaption of the Attractive Work Questionnaire for nurses in operating departments was satisfying. The most important factors for attractive work were: Relationship, Leadership and Status. The factors with the largest discrepancies between their important to work attractiveness and their rating at the nurses’ current work were: Salary, Organisation and Physical Work Environment. It was important for nurses to be able to prepare for and be in control of the different work tasks. However, the daily operating schedule guided the nurses’ work, and changes in the schedule, nurse shortages and the design of the premises constituted obstacles to their work.

Conclusion: The Attractive Work Questionnaire provided specific information to management on what to focus on to make work attractive. The majority of the identified attractive factors are already known to be of importance in nurse retention; however, factors requiring more investigation are Equipment, Physical Work Environment and Location (of the workplace). Their work prerequisites did not enable the specialist and assistant nurses to reach what they saw as their daily goals. Regularly occurring activities, such as acute and cancelled operations, were interpreted as obstacles to reaching daily goals.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2016. 74 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Medicine, ISSN 1651-6206 ; 1164
attractive work, nursing workforce, personnel turnover, job satisfaction, nurse retention, nurse shortage, operating room
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Research subject
Caring Sciences
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-266338 (URN)978-91-554-9420-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-01-08, Brömssalen, Gävle sjukhus, Gävle, 13:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2015-12-16 Created: 2015-11-07 Last updated: 2016-01-13

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