Original Research

Describing healthcare providers’ perceptions of relational practice with families in the emergency department: A qualitative study

Waheedha Emmamally, Christen Erlingsson, Petra Brysiewicz
Curationis | Vol 43, No 1 | a2155 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/curationis.v43i1.2155 | © 2020 Waheedha Emmamally, Christen Erlingsson, Petra Brysiewicz | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 March 2020 | Published: 02 November 2020

About the author(s)

Waheedha Emmamally, Discipline of Nursing, College of health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Christen Erlingsson, Department of Health and Caring Sciences, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Linnaeus University, Kalmar, Sweden
Petra Brysiewicz, Discipline of Nursing, College of health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Emergency departments are regarded as stressful working environments, associated with staff shortages, increased patient numbers and long waiting times. Increased organisational demands for performance can compromise genuine interactions between families and healthcare providers working in emergency departments. A relational practice approach in caring for families can enhance the capability of healthcare providers to simultaneously overcome these difficulties and provide emergency healthcare of high quality.

Objectives: The purpose of the study was to describe healthcare providers’ perceptions of relational practice with families in three emergency departments in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Method: Using a qualitative descriptive approach data were collected through semi-structured interviews with healthcare providers working in emergency departments. The data were analysed and categorised using qualitative content analysis.

Results: Four categories emerged from data analysis: (1) families and healthcare providers connecting; (2) recognising the uniqueness of families; (3) caring interactions; and (4) taking charge when necessary.

Conclusion: The study elicited that healthcare providers working in emergency departments perceived that despite high patient volumes and resource constraints, collaborative relationships with families were important. However, these collaborative relationships cannot be willed into practice, instead training workshops are needed to develop relational skills of healthcare providers which can facilitate family and healthcare professional collaboration.


Keywords

emergency departments; families; healthcare professionals; families; perceptions; relational practice

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