Perioperative nurses' experiences of communication in a multicultural operating theatre: A qualitative study

Judy Clayton, Anton Neville Isaacs, Isabel Mary Caroline Ellender

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: To explore the lived experiences of perioperative nurses in a multicultural operating theatre in Melbourne, Australia.

Background: Multiculturalism has become the norm in the health workforce of several developed countries due mostly to immigration. Within an operating theatre setting where good communication is paramount, the presence of nurses and doctors from multiple cultures and different training backgrounds could pose a major challenge.

Method: Using a qualitative research methodology underpinned by phenomenology, we interviewed fourteen nurses from different sections of an operating theatre.

Results: From the lived experiences of the participants, difficulties in communication emerged as the major theme. Difficulties in communication affected patient care and the working atmosphere. In addition, social integration appeared to improve communication.

Conclusions: Addressing the needs of patients from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds in the operating theatre continues to be challenging. However, developing a sense of camaraderie and fostering good relationships between staff through regular social gatherings can improve communication and the working atmosphere.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7 - 15
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Nursing Studies
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Cultural diversity
  • Multiculturalism
  • Communication
  • Operating theatre
  • Nursing
  • Socialisation
  • Workplace

Cite this