the study's rationale: Patients' active participation in their own care is expected to contribute to increased motivation to improve their own condition, better treatment results and greater satisfaction with received care. Knowledge of patients' understanding of participation is of great importance for nurses in their efforts to meet patient expectations and for quality of nursing care.
Aim: The aim was to explore the meaning of patient participation in nursing care from a patient point of view.
Methodological design and justification: Six tape-recorded focus group interviews with 26 Swedish informants described opinions on and experiences of patient participation. The informants consisted of patients in somatic inpatient care as well as discharged patients from such a setting. The Grounded Theory method was used and the data were analysed using constant comparative analysis.
Ethical issues and approval: The ethics of scientific work was followed. Each study participant gave informed consent after verbal and written information. The Ethics Committee of Göteborg University approved the study.
Findings: The patients emphasised the importance of collaboration to improve participation. The core category, Insight through consideration, was generated from four inter-related categories: (i) Obliging atmosphere; (ii) Emotional response; (iii) Concordance; and (iv) Rights and their 15 subcategories.
Conclusions: The meaning structures of patient participation in nursing care revealed from a patient point of view, seemed to mainly consist of not only external factors presented by the institutions -- by the professionals -- but also internal patient factors. The patients' view of participation should be considered to a greater degree in nursing practice and education, as should also further development of nursing care policy programmes, evaluation and quality assurance criteria. For further development, studies are needed in similar and other settings.