Structured family meetings with an interdisciplinary team are an important part of family centered care. However, barriers to successful nurse involvement have hindered effective nurse participation and contribution. Ahluwalia and colleagues conducted focus groups with 30 intensive care unit (ICU) nurses to explore their experiences and perceptions related to nursing roles and challenges regarding family meetings. They identified the following 3 major themes:

  1. Multiple roles: nurses act as coordinator, advocate, and translator during and after family meetings.

  2. Barriers: Lack of resources to attend meetings, no invitation to attend, and feeling unable to speak up to contradict a physician.

  3. Lack of power: Conflict between understanding family preferences and inability to communicate any discrepancies to physicians.

The authors recommend multidisciplinary skills training and relationship building, premeeting huddles to align communication, and creation of a designated time and space for nurse contributions during family meetings.

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