Nurses’ Perceptions of In-Hospital Versus Telephone Availability of an Intensivist at Night in an Intensive Care Unit

In American Journal of Critical Care, Emily Stanton and colleagues, including Jessica Dine, Scott Halpern, and Meeta Prasad Kerlin, investigate nurses' perceptions about nighttime intensivist staffing. The authors conducted semi-structured interviews of 13 night-shift nurses in an academic medical intensive care unit to elicit perceptions of nighttime staffing with attending intensivists, versus residents with attending intensivists on call remotely. Eight themes emerged from these interviews: efficiency, communication, job place comfort, quality of patient care, procedures, supervision, systems issues, and experience. Most participants thought that nighttime intensivists improved clinical care, procedures, efficiency, communication, and job place comfort. However, two noted no difference in quality of patient care, efficiency, and communication, and three reported no effect on job place comfort. Twelve mentioned improved supervision of trainees, and all thought that systems issues improved with a nighttime intensivist. The authors conclude that nurses perceive improvements with nighttime intensivists in several domains. Future work is needed to determine whether such perceptions translate into improved outcomes for staff or patients.