Interprofessional collaboration and family member involvement in intensive care units: Emerging themes from a multi-sited ethnography

Scott Reeves, Sarah E. McMillan, Natasha Kachan, Elise Paradis, Myles Leslie, Simon Kitto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


This article presents emerging findings from the first year of a two-year study, which employed ethnographic methods to explore the culture of interprofessional collaboration (IPC) and family member involvement in eight North American intensive care units (ICUs). The study utilized a comparative ethnographic approach-gathering observation, interview and documentary data relating to the behaviors and attitudes of healthcare providers and family members across several sites. In total, 504 hours of ICU-based observational data were gathered over a 12-month period in four ICUs based in two US cities. In addition, 56 semi-structured interviews were undertaken with a range of ICU staff (e.g. nurses, doctors and pharmacists) and family members. Documentary data (e.g. clinical guidelines and unit policies) were also collected to help develop an insight into how the different sites engaged organizationally with IPC and family member involvement. Directed content analysis enabled the identification and categorization of major themes within the data. An interprofessional conceptual framework was utilized to help frame the coding for the analysis. The preliminary findings presented in this paper illuminate a number of issues related to the nature of IPC and family member involvement within an ICU context. These findings are discussed in relation to the wider interprofessional and health services literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)230-237
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Interprofessional Care
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2015


  • Critical care
  • Ethnography
  • Family member involvement
  • Interprofessional collaboration
  • Qualitative research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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