The creation of meaning : intensive care nurses’ experiences of conducting nurse-led follow-up on intensive care units
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Objective: To explore and describe the experiences of Norwegian intensive care unit nurses providing nurse-led follow-up to patients and their families. Design and methods: The study had a qualitative design with a phenomenological approach. Three focus-group interviews were conducted with nurses on three intensive care units. Giorgi’s phenomenological method guided the analysis. Findings: The creation of meaning emerged as a general structure describing intensive care nurses’ experiences of nurse-led follow-up. When caring for critically ill patients, nurses described becoming emotionally moved, which motivated them to perform nurse-led follow-up procedures, such as writing in patient diaries. A general wish to give context to the patients’ time spent in intensive care emerged. When conducting nurse-led follow-up, the nurses made personal contributions, which could be emotionally challenging for them. Overall, nurse-led follow-up was found to increase nurses’ insight into and motivation for their own practice. Conclusion: The performance of nurse-led follow-up appears to be grounded in care for and engagement in individual patients and families. The nurses studied wanted to help patients and families to be able to handle their experiences during an intensive care stay. In addition, nurse-led follow-up gave meaning to the intensive care nurses’ own practice.