sieger m., fritz e. & them c. (2012) In discourse: Bourdieu’s theory of practice and habitus in the context of a communication-oriented nursing interaction model. Journal of Advanced Nursing 68(2), 480–489.
Aims. This paper presents a discussion on the potential of the theories of practice and habitus as espoused by the sociologist Bourdieu.
Background. The interaction between nurses and patients is a constitutive element in the nursing process and a central aspect in the theories developed by Paterson and Zderad, and Orlando. Bourdieu′s theory of habitus and practices assists in understanding and explaining differentiated results concerning nurse–patient interaction.
Data sources. In a study on interactions with paraplegic patients, distinguished levels of interactions, which show considerable diversity among one another, could be identified. The data were collected over a period of 20 months in 2004–2006. The results present the central topics of interaction and show that understanding-oriented interaction is rare.
Discussion. Communicative acting in nursing always takes place in a social context. In the interaction with patients, nurses assign a higher distinctive value to the standardized concepts of care facilities than to the actually perceived need of care. An understanding-oriented interaction assumes that the nurses with their own contributions, themes and authorities, prove themselves in the eyes of the patient. It is expected from nurses that they habitualize their own concepts so that they can be represented in a convincing manner.
Conclusion. If an understanding-oriented interaction is to extend into the practice of nursing, it is of crucial importance that both interaction partners assure each other how and with what capital their interaction is to be realized. Nurses need professional habitus to become agents in the social field of health.