Barriers and opportunities of empowerment as applied in diabetes settings: a focus on health care professionals' experiences

Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2012 Jul;97(1):e18-22. doi: 10.1016/j.diabres.2012.03.001. Epub 2012 Mar 26.


This exploratory study examines the opportunities and barriers health care professionals (HCPs) working with diabetes patients face when they try to implement the rhetoric of patient empowerment in practice. A small sample of diabetes HCPs (N=13), from National Health Service (NHS) hospital, walk-in and general practitioner (GP) clinics in South-East England, was interviewed through in-depth semi-structured interviews. Interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically. The analysis showed that empowerment was seen as beneficial for patients and HCPs. Time and resources could be moved from successfully empowered patients and focussed on more complex patients, this was termed 'selective empowerment'. The main barriers to empowerment were identified as a lack of resources, time and HCPs trained in empowerment techniques. Empowerment is a popular concept in theory, and presents HCPs with several opportunities but also important barriers in its practical, clinical implementation day-to-day.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / psychology
  • England / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • National Health Programs
  • Power, Psychological*
  • Self Care / methods*
  • Self Care / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires