An exploration of empowerment discourse within home-care nurses' accounts of practice


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Abstract

FUNK LM, STAJDUHAR KI and PURKIS ME. Nursing Inquiry 2011; 18: 66–76 An exploration of empowerment discourse within home-care nurses' accounts of practiceIn this study, we explore how client and family caregiver ‘empowerment’ is interpreted by home-care nurses talking about their practice with palliative (and to a lesser extent, non-palliative) clients and families. We draw on secondary analysis of qualitative data collected through in-person interviews with 27 home-care nurses from a western Canadian health authority. First, we illustrate how the practice ideal of empowerment, in the sense of ‘respecting autonomy and choices’, can be understood as reflecting home-care nurses’ needs to mitigate the emotional impact of feeling unable to effectively help palliative clients/families. Then, we illustrate how the practice ideal of empowerment, in the sense of ‘promoting independence’, can be understood to accomplish the need to shift responsibility for particular care tasks to clients and family members. Lastly, home-care nurses, talk about ‘promoting choices’ is also investigated. ‘Choice’ was framed narrowly with respect to allowing palliative clients and families to determine visit time and frequency. Findings are discussed in relation to the concept of ‘responsibilization’.

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