Registered Nurses working together with family members of older people


  • Karin Weman MNSc, RNM, RNT,

  • Ingegerd Fagerberg MSocSci, PhD, RNT

Karin Weman
Department of Caring and Public Health Sciences
Mälardalen University
Box 883
SE- 721 23 Västerås
Telephone: +46 21 10 16 52


Aim.  The aim of the study was to reach a more profound understanding, through looking at nurses’ working situation, of those factors that influence how nurses are able to work together with family members of older people living in nursing homes or similar facilities.

Background.  Working with the care of older people as a Registered Nurse provides a varied job with many challenges. Nurses have to co-operate with family members of those in community health care. Co-operation is important and necessary for all involved.

Design.  Nurses working in elder care in a geographically defined area received a questionnaire with three open-ended questions, on the difficulties and/or problems involved with working together with family members, and the positive or negative aspects of this co-operation.

Methods.  Analysis was carried out using the latent content analysis method.

Results.  Three themes, problems within the system, interaction with families and caring in nursing work, are presented with categories and their subcategories. The nurses wanted their superior to be a nurse so that their working situation would be better understood. Appreciation from their superior and family members was also a very important part of their work as nurses in community health care. The frequent changes and the lack of time in the work of elder care often put nurses under considerable psychological pressure. For the most part family members are a resource for the elder, but sometimes they will avoid contact, which will make co-operating difficult.

Conclusion.  Registered Nurses and family members are dependent on each other in their care of the elder.

Relevance to clinical practice.  More attention should be paid to the working situation of Registered Nurses in community health care, and their ability to work together with family members of older people.