The experience of empowerment in the patient–staff encounter: the patient's perspective

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Aim and objective.The aim was to explore empowerment within the patient–staff encounter as experienced by out-patients with chronic kidney disease.Background.Empowerment has an important role to play in the patient–staff relationship in the case of patients with a chronic disease. When it comes to patients with chronic kidney disease, there has been little research on empowerment, for which reason interviewing such patients about their experiences of empowerment will provide useful knowledge within the context of out-patient care.Design.A qualitative interview study was chosen to gain an understanding of empowerment from the patient perspective.Method.The study was carried out at an out-patient clinic in Sweden and involved 20 patients with chronic kidney disease. The interviews were subjected to latent content analysis.Results.Five of the seven sub-themes emerging from the analysis represented empowerment: Accessibility according to need, Confirming encounter, Trust in the competence of the healthcare staff, Participation in decision-making, Learning enables better self-management. The other two represented non-empowerment: Meeting with nonchalance, Lack of dialogue and influence. From the seven sub-themes, one comprehensive theme was generated: Creation of trust and learning through encounter.Conclusion.The main finding regarding the central role of the creation of trust and learning through the patient–staff encounter underlines the importance of understanding empowerment from the patient's perspective.Relevance to clinical practice.Nursing and other healthcare staff need knowledge and understanding of the meaning of empowerment from the patients’ perspective to meet their needs in out-patient care.

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