Importance of Developing Nurse Caring Behaviors for Family Centered Trauma Care

Tuesday, 14 July 2009: 10:30 AM

Lory Clukey, PhD, PsyD, RN1
Janice S. Hayes, PhD, RN2
Alison Merrill, PhD, RN3
Denise Curtis, MSN, FNP, RN1
1School of Nursing, University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, CO
2Nursing, University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, CO
3University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, CO

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to describe trauma family members perceptions of nurse caring behaviors.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to distinguish nurse caring behaviors from non caring behaviors with trauma family members.

Purpose: The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore family member’s perceptions of trauma nurses’ caring behaviors.

Methods: Ten family members of moderately to severely injured patients participated in semi-structured interviews within 6 weeks of the patient’s trauma injury. Patient’s were admitted to a level 2 trauma center in the West. Phone interviews were conducted by the same interviewer. The interviews lasted 20 to 45 minutes each and were tape recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data analysis used NVivo 7© software for data analysis. Data coding and analysis was conducted by team members and an outside doctorally prepared reviewer who reviewed the transcripts for agreement of coding and theme identification. Results:

The nurse behaviors that informants identified as caring were categorized into 5 main attributes: knowledge based actions; non-verbal communication and interpersonal interactions; providing physical comfort to family members; taking time; and delivering care to the trauma patient. It is of interest to note that the knowledge based action of explaining and interpreting what was happening was an attribute identified by all participants as a demonstration of caring.


The data from this study supports the need to develop specific communication skills for delivery of family centered care by nurses. Caring behaviors of nurses as noted by family members in situational crisis after a trauma event, indicated that non-verbal communication and translation of technical jargon was perceived as being most helpful.