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Behind the Mask: A Narrative Inquiry into Operating Room Nurses' Experiences of Patient Safety Open Access


Other title
adverse event
narrative inquiry
safety culture
operating room
patient safety
patient care
safety climate
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Moszczynski, Alice
Supervisor and department
Marck, Patricia (Nursing, University of British Columbia)
Barton, Sylvia (Nursing, University of Alberta)
Examining committee member and department
Schultz, Lynette (Education, University of Alberta)
Doane, Gweneth (Nursing, University of Victoria)
Cameron, Brenda (Nursing, University of Alberta)
Clandinin, Jean (Education, University of Alberta)
Faculty of Nursing

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
The delivery of safe care is an expectation and a central concern of individuals using the healthcare system, particularly for those who find themselves as patients in hospitals. Healthcare researchers' reports and discussions of harm while receiving hospital services speak to the global importance of improving patient safety. The occurrence and prevention of adverse safety events has been identified as a key area of interest in the patient safety movement, especially in relation to strengthening and improving operating room patient safety. I conducted a research project in British Columbia in 2010, responding to critical questions about patient safety specific to the operating room. The purpose of the study was to understand the significance and meaning of operating room nurses' personal narratives of patient safety. Narrative inquiry (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000) was the methodology chosen for the research, and conversational interviews were used to retrieve a storied view of experience. I engaged with four female operating room nurses, in order to elicit their life narratives and to explore the experiences that were influencing their patient safety stories.The dissertation has been prepared using a traditional format and includes eight chapters. The first chapter is autobiographical in situation the study within the three-dimensional narrative inquiry space (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000). The second chapter is a descriptive review based on a critical analysis of patient safety research and highlights salient aspects of patient safety relevant to the healthcare arena. The third chapter describes the methods used in this narrative inquiry, a process undertaken with participants that resulted in them retelling their lived stories based on their operating room nursing experiences. In the four findings chapters, the operating room nurses' specific stories are retold by the researcher, accompanied by the researcher's reflective analysis. The dissertation concludes with a synthesis and discussion chapter, whereby common narrative threads resonate across the four participants' stories and provide implications for contemplation by the professional discipline of nursing.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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