In healthcare settings, working relationships are linked to continuity of care and patient safety especially in
specialized units such as operating theatres.
Purpose of the research: This study explores and describes working relationships between nurses and general
assistants in the operating theatre.
METHODS AND PROCEDURES : This qualitative study used a case study design comprised of four focus group discussions
to collect data. Data were analysed using the ten steps of content analysis.
RESULTS : Three main themes emerged from the focus group discussions: disrespect and mistrust as the core of
working relationships between nurses and general assistants, poor communication in healthcare teams and
generic versus specialised roles.
CONCLUSIONS : Following identification of challenges, participants indicated that healthy working relationships
should be cultivated by treating contemporaries with respect, using open communication and clear division of
labour. Participants recommended using innovative communication strategies to optimize working relationships
in this digital age especially in specialized areas such as operating theatre where patient continuity and safety