Contrasting patient and practitioner perspectives in type 2 diabetes management

West J Nurs Res. 1998 Dec;20(6):656-76; discussion 677-82. doi: 10.1177/019394599802000602.


Studies of self-care behaviors in the management of type 2 diabetes often focus on patient knowledge and motivation, without considering the role of practitioner orientations. Using an exploratory descriptive design, we conducted open-ended interviews with 51 type 2 diabetes patients and 35 practitioners from clinics in San Antonio and Laredo, Texas. We found critical differences between patient and practitioner goals, evaluations, and strategies in diabetes management, especially regarding such key concepts as "control" and "taking care of self". Practitioners' perspectives are rooted in a clinical context, emphasizing technical considerations, whereas patients' perspectives exist within a life-world context and foreground practical and experiential considerations. These result in very different approaches to treatment. Practitioners, presuming failed treatment indicates uncooperativeness, try to inform and motivate patients. The patients we interviewed, however, understood and were committed to type 2 diabetes self-care, but lacked full access to behavioral options due to their poverty and limited social power.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Attitude to Health / ethnology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / ethnology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Male
  • Mexican Americans / psychology*
  • Mexico / ethnology
  • Middle Aged
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Poverty
  • Power, Psychological
  • Self Care / methods*
  • Self Care / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Texas