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A Qualitative Study of Difficult Nurse-Patient Encounters in Home Health Care

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore nurse-patient encounters from the perspective of the home health care registered nurse. A qualitative descriptive design was used to collect data from a purposive sample of 20 nurses from Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island currently or previously employed as a home health care nurse. Four themes and 1 interconnecting theme emerged from the data: objective language; navigating the unknown; mitigating risk; looking for reciprocality in the encounter; and the interconnecting theme of acknowledging not all nurse-patient encounters go well. Three types of encounters—constructive, nonconstructive, and destructive—were defined.

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