Rediscovering unpopular patients: the concept of social judgement


Dr M Johnson, 45 Hawk Green Road, Marple, Stockport SK6 7HR England


Nurses have known about unpopular patients for over two decades Influential studies such as Stockwell's in the UK have had considerable impact upon students of nursing Stockwell's book, The Unpopular Patient, is widely cited and was reprinted in 1984 Further, a critical review of the wider literature by Kelly & May threw down a challenge to researchers to investigate the phenomenon using an interactionist perspective and ethnographic methods This paper reports a study which should begin to reinforce doubt that evaluative labels, unpopular or otherwise, are in any way ‘predictable’, as Stockwell and a host of others have hoped and assumed The process through which evaluative labels of people are socially constructed is explored and the context, explanations and some consequences of what we call social judgement are discussed.