Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
. 2013 Apr;69(4):760-72.
doi: 10.1111/jan.12050. Epub 2012 Nov 19.

Capacity for Care: Meta-Ethnography of Acute Care Nurses' Experiences of the Nurse-Patient Relationship

Affiliations
Free PMC article

Capacity for Care: Meta-Ethnography of Acute Care Nurses' Experiences of the Nurse-Patient Relationship

Jackie Bridges et al. J Adv Nurs. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Aims: To synthesize evidence and knowledge from published research about nurses' experiences of nurse-patient relationships with adult patients in general, acute inpatient hospital settings.

Background: While primary research on nurses' experiences has been reported, it has not been previously synthesized.

Design: Meta-ethnography.

Data sources: Published literature from Australia, Europe, and North America, written in English between January 1999-October 2009 was identified from databases: CINAHL, Medline, British Nursing Index and PsycINFO.

Review methods: Qualitative studies describing nurses' experiences of the nurse-patient relationship in acute hospital settings were reviewed and synthesized using the meta-ethnographic method.

Results: Sixteen primary studies (18 papers) were appraised as high quality and met the inclusion criteria. The findings show that while nurses aspire to develop therapeutic relationships with patients, the organizational setting at a unit level is strongly associated with nurses' capacity to build and sustain these relationships. The organizational conditions of critical care settings appear best suited to forming therapeutic relationships, while nurses working on general wards are more likely to report moral distress resulting from delivering unsatisfactory care. General ward nurses can then withdraw from attempting to emotionally engage with patients.

Conclusion: The findings of this meta-ethnography draw together the evidence from several qualitative studies and articulate how the organizational setting at a unit level can strongly influence nurses' capacity to build and sustain therapeutic relationships with patients. Service improvements need to focus on how to optimize the organizational conditions that support nurses in their relational work with patients.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 13 articles

See all "Cited by" articles

References

    1. Ackroyd S, Bolton SC. It is not Taylorism: mechanisms of work intensification in the provision of gynaecological services in an NHS hospital. Work, Employment & Society. 1999;13(2):369–387.
    1. Adams A, Lugsden E, Chase J, Arber S, Bond S. Skill-mix changes and work intensification in nursing. Work, Employment and Society. 2000;14(03):541–555.
    1. Allan H. A ‘good enough’ nurse: supporting patients in a fertility unit. Nursing Inquiry. 2001;8(1):51–60. - PubMed
    1. Allsop J, Saks M. Regulating the Health Professions. London: Sage; 2002.
    1. Barber P. Caring: the nature of the therapeutic relationship. In: Perry A, editor. Nursing: A Knowledge Base for Practice. London: Arnold; 1997. pp. 171–211.

Publication types

Feedback