The Patient and Family Perioperative Experience During Transfer of Care: A Qualitative Inquiry

Sonja E. Stutzman, Dai Wai M Olson, Philip E. Greilich, Kamal Abdulkadir, Michael A. Rubin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Patient transfers between the OR and intensive care unit are high-risk events. Previous studies regarding mechanisms to improve these transfers do not account for the perspectives of family members or patients. Using transfer-of-care reports from health care providers, we performed a qualitative study of patient and family member perspectives by transcribing, coding, and analyzing seven interviews using hermeneutic cycling, which revealed three main themes: communication, clinical interaction, and clinician demeanor. Participants reported that anxiety about the plan of care and its outcomes eased when they had more frequent communication with members of the clinical team, observed the team interacting with one another, and felt the clinicians’ demeanors were confident. The results of this study showed that families perceived that clinicians who communicated the timing and frequency of protocols and procedures improved patient care. Clinician training on empathy, professionalism, and accessibility may increase patient and family satisfaction and decrease negative interactions between clinicians and patients and their family members.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-202
Number of pages10
JournalAORN Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017


  • hand-over communication
  • patient transfer
  • patient-centered care
  • qualitative research
  • transfer of care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medical–Surgical


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