Leadership DIMENSIONTrepidation A Family Member's Response to Shift Change in the Intensive Care UnitBowman, Karen MSN, RN, CCRNAuthor Information Karen Bowman, MSN, RN, CCRN, is employed as a staff nurse in a 22-bed mixed-specialty intensive care unit. She has recently completed a master's degree in nursing at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in the Family Nurse Practitioner tract. Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Karen Bowman, MSN, RN, CCRN, N1706 950th Street, Eau Claire, WI 54701 ([email protected]). Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing: November 2010 - Volume 29 - Issue 6 - p 288-292 doi: 10.1097/DCC.0b013e3181f0c1b5 Buy Metrics AbstractIn Brief Every shift change in the intensive care unit presents an opportunity for uncertainty among family members regarding rules and information exchange. High levels of uncertainty maintain a presence in the intensive care unit environment, and feelings of trepidation can increase with uncertainty. Critical care nurses in the intensive care unit play a pivotal role in mediating family members' feelings of trepidation by what they do or do not do. Further research into family members' responses to shift change and into inconsistencies in nursing decisions regarding rules and information exchange in the intensive care unit is needed to better understand the feelings that family members experience in the intensive care unit environment and to motivate meaningful changes that will contribute to a clearer sense of purpose for family and their loved ones. Every 8 to 12 hours, family members who are already coping with the stress of a loved one's illness deal with uncertainty when shift change occurs and a different nurse enters their world. This article discusses the issue of one response-trepidation-and how nurses can ease the transition. © 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.