Rationale, aims, and objectives: Ward rounds present opportunities for medical officers, nurses, allied health clinicians, and patients to interact and plan patient care. A recent literature review found eight types of rounding processes. Different purposes, varying levels of representation from clinical professions, and understanding of each others' roles revealed a complex activity. A shared understanding of rounding processes facilitates positive teamwork and improves patient care. We examined how clinicians perceive the nature of rounding processes they undertake within their practice, multidisciplinary team attendance at rounds, and the effectiveness of team communication. Methods: We surveyed frontline professionals in two acute care and two rehabilitation wards from a metropolitan teaching hospital. There were 77 participants representing medical officers, nurses, and allied health clinicians. Participants selected the type of rounding processes undertaken on their ward from a list of six defined types, then answered questions about who participated in the rounds and their perceptions of the effectiveness of multidisciplinary communication. Survey findings were analysed using descriptive statistics and comparison. Results: Overall, professionals were inconsistent in the identification of number and types of rounds. Participants nominated processes more consistently within individual clinical disciplines than by clinical speciality. Medical officers identified rounds most consistently, while some nurses were unable to identify any rounding processes undertaken. The perceptions clinicians had of their own attendance at rounds differed from that of their colleagues. Despite variation in perceptions about rounds, professionals reported effective multidisciplinary communication patterns overall. Conclusion: Rounds are a common yet complex activity. Rounds are revealed to be a taken-for-granted organizational activity with diversity in function, attendance, and participation, yet rounding processes are perceived and experienced differently between health professions. These differences impact on multidisciplinary attendance at rounds amongst peers. Making and communicating explicit round expectations and roles for clinicians supports coordinated teamwork and care planning.
- care planning
- ward round