Family-centered rounds (FCR) are an important and recommended component of pediatric hospital care. This study compares direct observations versus perceptions and ideals of who talks during FCR.


A silent investigator observed FCR and noted who spoke, time in patient rooms, nurse and family presences, and patient information. After the observation period, the medical team was offered an anonymous survey regarding typical and ideal usage of time on FCR. Data analysis included general linear models and analysis of variance tests.


Thirty rounding sessions involving 234 encounters of FCR over a 12-week period were analyzed. On average, teams spent 7 minutes in each patient room and approximately the same amount of time outside of the room. Attending physicians were the dominant medical speakers during rounds (30.8%), and nurses spoke the least (2%). When inside a patient room, there was no significant difference between the percentage of time that attending physicians spoke (25.6%) and that of families and patients (23.0%). The surveys revealed that the medical team consistently underestimated the percentage of time attending physicians talked and desired attending physicians to talk less. They also overestimated the time spent in the patient rooms, the time families talked, and nurse presence during rounds and desired an increase in each of these areas.


The medical teams’ perceptions of FCR do not reflect clinical observations. Medical teams believe and desire that attending physicians talk less and families and nurses talk more than observations reveal.

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