The experiences of chronically ill patients and registered nurses when they negotiate patient care in hospital settings: a feminist poststructural approach: A qualitative study that explores negotiation of patient care between patients and chronically ill patients in hospital settings

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Abstract

Aims and objectives.

The aim of this study was to understand the experiences of chronically ill patients and registered nurse in negotiating patient care in hospital. Specifically, we explored how social and institutional discourses shaped power relations and negotiation of patient care.

Background.

Current literature indicates that although nurses embrace this notion, such partnerships are not easily implemented. Most existing studies focus on the role of the nurse as the leader of the partnership with little attention paid to how social and institutional values, beliefs and practices shape nurse/patient power relations; or how these relationships are negotiated between nurses and patients.

Design.

The theoretical and methodological approaches used in this study are based on the precepts of Foucault and feminist poststructural theorists.

Methods.

In depth interviews were conducted with eight chronically ill patients and 10 registered nurses.

Results.

Both nurses and patients commented about the relationships that develop between nurses and chronically ill patients and how these relationships facilitate negotiation of patient care. Both parties described challenging moments and how institutional discourses may hinder positive negotiations of care. In this paper we highlight three themes that emerged: getting to know each other, they are not the sickest patients and finding time to listen.

Conclusions.

This study offers an innovative way of unpacking negotiation of care between chronically ill patients and registered nurses. It exposes how social and institutional discourses play a pivotal role in shaping negotiations between nurses and chronically ill patients.

Relevance to clinical practice.

Negotiating care with chronically ill patients is not as asymmetric as portrayed in some of the literature and tends to be based on mutual agreements between nurses and patients. Nurses make it a point to listen to patients’ needs and resist institutional discourses that preclude them from spending time with patients.

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