Nurses' power in interactions with patients


  • Alistair Hewison RGN BSc CertEd(FE) MA

    1. Senior Lecturer in Health Care Management, School of Health and Social Sciences, Coventry University, Priory Street, Coventry, CV1 5FB, England
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Power in interactions between nurses and patients, as mediated through language, is examined in this paper The findings from an observational study confirm much previous research in that the majority of nurse-patient interactions were superficial, routinized and related to tasks It was found that nurses exert a lot of control over interactions and the linguistic devices used to achieve this are explored Links are established between macro-level factors, such as the institution, and the micro-level of nurse—patient encounters, to demonstrate how wider forces affect and are reflected in interactions Examination of the interactions also reveals issues of conflict arising from the caring and controlling functions that nurses perform It is suggested that the power dimension inherent in the relationship constitutes a barrier to open and meaningful communication between nurses and patients