Emancipatory Actions Displayed by Multi-Ethnic Women: “Regaining Control of My Health Care”


Ivy M. Alexander, PhD, APRN, ANP-BC, FAAN, Yale University School of Nursing, 100 Church Street South, P.O. Box 9740, New Haven, CT 06536-0740. Tel: (203) 737-2359; Fax: (203) 785-6455; E-mail: ivy.alexander@yale.edu


Purpose: Despite the recognized importance of patient involvement in primary care interactions, little information describing women's needs and expectations for these interactions is available. This participatory action study was based in Critical Action Theory and designed to describe any emancipatory interests that surfaced when eight ethnically diverse women examined their interactions with primary care nurse practitioners (PCNPs) over the course of five successive focus group meetings.

Data Sources: Focus group meeting transcripts, field notes, interaction notations, seating maps, and first impression summaries.

Conclusions: Participants wanted to learn how to “stand up” for themselves in primary care interactions. They believed this could be accomplished by developing a positive sense of self-esteem. Ultimately, they identified the right way to “talk back” to clinicians and created a method for regaining control of their own health care and maintaining equality in interactions with primary care clinicians.

Implications for Practice: Nurse practitioners working in the primary setting are especially well situated to support self-management and foster patient participation by women as they live with chronic disease, engage in health promotion activities, and deal with common symptomatic problems for themselves and their families.