Journal List > J Korean Acad Nurs Adm > v.25(4) > 1134999

Ahn and Lee: Experience of Communication for Patient Safety by Perioperative Nurses



The purpose of this study was to explore perioperative nurses’ communication experience within the surgical team with regard to patient safety.


Data were collected from December 2015 to September 2016, through in-depth individual interviews with 14 perioperative nurses. Individual interviews, once or twice, lasted from 40 minutes to one hour for each session. The main interview question was “How do you describe your communication experience with surgical team members as a perioperative nurse?” Collected data were analyzed using a conventional content analysis.


Two categories of the perioperative nurses’ experience of communication were identified: communication contributing to patient safety, communication hindering patient safety. Communication in the surgical team reflected on the unique features of the operating room, such as urgency and a hierarchical organizational culture. However, the nurses recognized ineffective communication could impact on patient safety, and endeavored to overcome communication failures.


The results indicate that sharing responsibility, open communication, assertiveness on safety issues, and interprofessional collaboration in the operating room are necessary to ensure effective communication. Thus, respectful culture and an open communication climate based on interprofessional understanding are required to improve communication. Training programs to enhance communication skills should be implemented.


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Table 1.
Experience of Communication for Patient Safety by Perioperative Nurses
Category Subcategory Code
Communication Open communication on patient safety Exchange of opinions within surgical team members to
contributing to prevent errors
patient safety Active feedback
Sharing responsibility for patient safety Sharing information while participating in surgery Cross-check for error prevention
Teamwork based on mutual trust Establishing rapport
Recognition as a team member
Mutual support
Assertiveness on patient safety issues Active suggestion
by a nurse Adhering to the principles of patient safety
Asking for check and recheck
Communication Hierarchical communication Junior nurses' unconditional acceptance for senior nurses'
hindering patient one-way instruction
safety One-way communication between operating room nurse
and surgeon
Hesitating to express opinion Silence to senior nurses and surgeons
Reading senior nurses and surgeons' faces
Nonverbal communication between operating room nurses
Different stance among professionals Faithless response
Lack of understanding of the roles among surgical team
Evasion of responsibility on patient safety issues
Unclear communication Guessing team members know what I mean
Confusion with arbitrary naming of surgical items
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