Family perceptions of nurses' roles toward family members of critically ill patients: a descriptive study

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Heart & Lung






Consumer Satisfaction -- Evaluation, Critical Care Nursing, Critically Ill Patients, Family Attitudes -- Evaluation, Nursing Role, Professional-Family Relations -- Evaluation, Adult, Aged, Attitude Measures, Chi Square Test, Content Validity, Descriptive Research, Descriptive Statistics, Female, Fisher's Exact Test, Male, Mann-Whitney U Test, Middle Age, Nonparametric Statistics, Questionnaires, Scales, Self Report, Summated Rating Scaling, Wilcoxon Signed Rank Test, Human


OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to examine the role of the nurse with families of critically ill patients as perceived by family members and whether meeting family expectations impact family satisfaction.

METHODS: A descriptive design was conducted with 29 family members from a 19-bed intensive care unit. Nonparametric statistics, known for their appropriateness for small samples, were used to examine the research questions.

RESULTS: Overall, the expectations that family members held regarding nurses' roles with families were not different from their perceptions of what nurses actually did (P = .087). Family members were more satisfied with care when nurses' performance either met or exceeded their expectations (P = .046).

CONCLUSION: Nurses did well with regard to meeting family members' expectations. Variations in expectations among family members reflect their diversity and highlight the importance of assessing family needs on a case-by-case basis.