Background: Current research shows how the use of intraoperative communication can lead to positive effects for both patients and operating theatre nurses. However, research is missing regarding the use in practice.
Aim: The aim of this study was to observe, with the support of the competence description of the profession, how operating theatre nurses use intraoperative communication with patients in their clinical work, and reasons why communication possibly is not used.
Method: The study was performed as a qualitative, ethnographic, observational study. 20 observations of operating theatre nurses at a hospital in northern Sweden were made, and the material was analyzed through content analysis.
Findings: The analysis of the material led to three categories: To communicate, To perform person-centered care and To be influenced by the working environment, and eight sub-categories: To provide information, To conduct an intraoperative dialogue, To build a temporary relationship, To identify caring needs, To be committed, To be absent, To have other duties and To be affected by time
Conclusion: The findings of this study indicate that intraoperative communication is rarely used in clinical work today, and that operating theatre nurses, for different reasons, usually take a step back and let the other team members take responsibility for the intraoperative nursing.