This study explores the experiences of family members of patients with an emergent admission into a neurological intensive care unit. A descriptive, exploratory, multiple-case design was used. Participant observation and semistructured interviews were used to capture the experiences of families. Analysis revealed the “bedside phenomenon,” which offers insight into families' desire to be at the bedside. The phenomenon is twofold, in that families are motivated by two goals to be at the bedside: They want to ensure their loved one is receiving the best care possible, and they want to maintain a connection with the person. Nurses who understand and recognize this phenomenon may be better positioned to work with families to achieve these goals.
Questions or comments about this article may be directed to: Pikka Lam, BSc MSc(A) RN, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is a staff nurse in the intensive care unit at the Montreal Neurological Hospital, Montreal, Quebec.
Marcia Beaulieu, NPhD, is an assistant professor at McGill University School of Nursing, Montreal, Quebec.
© 2004 American Association of Neuroscience Nurses