Graduate School of Nursing Dissertations

Publication Date


Document Type

Dissertation, Doctoral


Graduate School of Nursing

Dissertation Committee Chair

Susan Sullivan-Bolyai


hospitalization, intensive care unit, bedside rounds, families, Intensive Care, Critical Care Nursing, Family, Professional-Family Relations, Teaching Rounds, Decision Making

Subject Categories

Critical Care | Critical Care Nursing | Nursing


The hospitalization of a family member in an intensive care unit can be a very stressful time for the family. Family bedside rounds is one way for the care team to inform family members, answer questions, and involve them in care decisions. Few studies have examined the experiences of family members with ICU bedside rounds.

A qualitative descriptive study, undergirded by the Family Management Style Framework developed by Knafl and Deatrick (1990, 2003) and Knafl, Deatrick, and Havill (2012), was done at an academic medical center examining families who both participated and did not participate in the family bedside rounds. The majority of families who participated (80%) found the process helpful. One overarching theme emerged from the data of participating families: Making a Connection: Comfort and Confidence. Two major factors influenced how that connection was made: consistency and preparing families for the future. Three types of consistency were identified: consistency with information being shared, consistency about when rounds were being held, and

consistency with being informed of delays. The second major contributing factor was preparing families for the future. When a connection was present, families felt comfortable with the situation. When any of the factors were missing, families described feelings of anger, frustration, and fear. Family members who did not participate described feelings of disappointment and frustration about not having participated.

As healthcare providers, what we say to families matters. They need to be included in decision-making with honest, consistent, easy-to-understand information.


Material from this dissertation has been published in: Cody, Reid-Ponte, Sullivan-Bolyai. Making A Connection: Family Experiences With ICU Bedside Rounds. Critical Care Nurse (In press)



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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.