Aim. This article outlines a model for the nursing role in the chronic health care context of renal replacement therapy.
Methods. Materials from several streams of literature are used to conceptualize the potential for nursing work in the renal setting as negotiated care. In order to present the role of the renal nurse in this way it is contextualized by viewing the renal setting as a specialized social context constituted by a dominant professional discourse and a contrasting client discourse.
Discussion. While performing specific therapeutic activities in accord with the dominant discourse, renal nurses can develop a relationship with the person living on dialysis, based on responsiveness to their subjective experience reflecting the renal client discourse. In contrast to the language of noncompliance prevalent in the renal setting, nurses can, through their relationship with renal clients, facilitate their attempts to negotiate the requirements of the therapeutic regime into their own personal life situation. Nurses can mediate between the dominant and client discourses for the person living on dialysis. Care describes the quality that nurses actively seek to create in their relationships with clients, through negotiation, in order to support them to live as fully as possible while using renal replacement therapy.
Conclusion. Within chronic health care contexts, shaped by the acute curative paradigm of biomedicine, the model of nursing work as negotiated care has the potential to humanize contemporary medical technologies by responding to clients' experiences of illness and therapy.