Background

Interruptions in clinical nursing practice is a well-known but implicit phenomenon no studies yet have shed light on in a professional nursing context.

Aim

The aim of this study is to describe and discuss interruptions as they occur and as they are being experienced in clinical nursing practice.

Method

A qualitative study inspired by field research based on participant observations and interviews.

Findings

Interruptions are seen as coming from the outside and being self-inflicted and as necessary and unnecessary, in different rooms and contexts in relation to different collaborators and tasks. Interruptions are experienced as a dilemma between being accessible and focused.

Conclusion

Interruptions are a natural part of clinical nursing practice. The dilemma between being accessible and focused is the ability to maintain a professional relation and at the same time be focused on quality and efficiency. The ability to be in this field of tension and prevent that nursing practice is polluted by unnecessary interruptions, involves the ability of the nurse to see-the-big-picture.