BACKGROUND: Families are introduced as new partners in interprofessional communication and collaboration during hospitalisation of an adult patient. Their introduction into the healthcare team has consequences for the roles and responsibilities of all healthcare professionals. Role clarification is thus needed to create optimal communication and collaboration with families.
AIM: To gain insight into how physicians and nurses view their own roles and each other's roles in communication and collaboration with families in the care of adult patients.
METHODS: A qualitative interpretive interview design was used. Fourteen semi-structured interviews, with seven physicians and seven nurses, were conducted. Data were analysed according to the steps of thematic analysis. For the study design and analysis of the results, the guidelines of the consolidated criteria for reporting qualitative studies (COREQ) were followed. The ethical committee of the University Medical Center Groningen approved the study protocol (research number 202100640).
FINDINGS: Thematic analysis resulted in three themes, each consisting of two or three code groups. Two themes "building a relationship" and "sharing information" were described as roles that both nurses and physicians share regarding communication and collaboration with families. The role expectations differed between physicians and nurses, but these differences were not discussed with each other. The theme "providing support to family" was regarded a nurse-specific role by both professions.
CONCLUSION: Physicians and nurses see a role for themselves and each other in communication and collaboration with families. However, the division of roles and expectations thereof are different, overlapping, and unclear. To optimise the role and position of family during hospital care, clarification and division of the roles between physicians and nurses in this partnership is necessary.