A concept analysis of empowerment in chronic illness from the perspective of the nurse and the client living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

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Abstract

A concept analysis of empowerment in chronic illness from the perspective of the nurse and the client living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Aims.

To explicate a model of empowerment appropriate to clients living with a chronic illness, in particular chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Background.

Empowerment is a concept central to nursing practice and is viewed from a variety of perspectives in nursing literature. Empowerment shapes how those living with a chronic illness view their illness and approach their involvement in self-care. This concept analysis was conducted as part of the literature review to inform the development of the Pulmonary Rehabilitation in Nurse-led Community Environments trial.

Design.

Review of the literature on empowerment, with particular focus on empowerment in chronic illness.

Methods.

A search of electronic databases to March 2010 for literature related to ‘empowerment’ was conducted. Papers included in the review had reference to ‘empowerment’ in the abstract. The literature was then organised following guidance on the structure for concept analysis proposed by Norris (1982, Concept Clarification in Nursing) and Rodgers (Journal of Advanced Nursing, 1989).

Results.

Empowerment in chronic illness is a process with both the nurse and client contributing to its evolvement. The nurse must feel empowered, communicate effectively and surrender control in the empowerment process. The client must be motivated to change and possess specific competencies to engage in the empowerment process. Both the nurse and client experience a transformation when empowered.

Conclusion.

Despite identification of the characteristics, antecedents and consequences of empowerment in chronic illness, empowerment remains an evolving concept, with evident immaturity revealed in its competing definitions.

Relevance to clinical practice.

This concept analysis provides nurses with an understanding of what patient attributes contribute to empowerment in chronic illness and how nurses on an individual level can influence the empowerment process for patients, through effective communication, surrendering control and focusing on goals.

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