Digital Public Defence: Marte-Marie Wallander Karlsen

MNSc Marte-Marie Wallander Karlsen at Institute of Basic Medical Sciences will be defending the thesis “Communication and interaction between conscious and alert critically ill patients on mechanical ventilation and healthcare providers in intensive care units: An in-depth study” for the degree of PhD (Philosophiae Doctor).

Photo: Cathrine Pettersen, LDH.

The public defence will be held as a video conference over Zoom.

The defence will follow regular procedure as far as possible, hence it will be open to the public and the audience can ask ex auditorio questions when invited to do so.

Click here to participate in the public defence

Download Zoom here

Due to copyright reasons, an electronic copy of the thesis must be ordered from the faculty. In order for the faculty to have time to process the order, it must be received by the faculty no later than 2 days prior to the public defence. Orders received later than 2 days before the defence will not be processed. Inquiries regarding the thesis after the public defence must be addressed to the candidate.


Digital Trial Lecture – time and place

See Digital Trial Lecture.

Adjudication committee

  • First opponent: Professor Pia Dreyer, Aarhus University
  • Second opponent: Associate professor Svein Bergvik, Universitetet i Tromsø
  • Third member and chair of the evaluation committee: Associate Professor Edel Jannecke Svendsen, University of Oslo

Chair of the Defence

Associate Professor Hilde Wøien, University of Oslo

Principal Supervisor

Associate professor Lena Günterberg Heyn, University of South-Eastern Norway


Mechanically ventilated patients in intensive care experience communication barriers, such as lack of voice, due to the endotracheal tube. This affects their ability to express their needs, to participate in treatment decision-making, and to interact with healthcare providers and relatives. In the two last decades an increasing amount of critically ill patients are conscious during mechanical ventilation, because this has been demonstrated to improve patient outcomes.

This thesis aimed to obtain in-depth knowledge of the communication and interaction between patients and healthcare providers when patients are conscious and alert and assisted by mechanical ventilation in intensive care units. It is based on a thorough literature review, video recordings of interaction between patients and healthcare providers, as well as in-depth interviews.

Observations by video recordings revealed that the patients used various non-vocal methods to obtain healthcare providers’ attention and tried to communicate their needs. Decisions were made regarding matters such as tracheal suctioning, medication, or the processes of weaning the patient off the mechanical ventilation. The patients varied from being an observer to a participant in these decisions, negotiating and also guided by the providers. Health care providers feel torn between their ideals and the real-world encounters delivering care to these patients.

The communication barriers were shown to have consequences for the patients’ care and treatment, affecting both their attempts to communicate and the decisions made. It is necessary to increase providers’ competence in communicating with mechanically ventilated patients in the future to meet both patients’ expectations of involvement and the healthcare providers’ legal obligation to facilitate patient participation.

Additional information

Contact the research support staff.

Published Jan. 15, 2021 1:30 PM - Last modified Feb. 1, 2021 10:30 AM