Patient life: A nursing study based on ethnographic methodology of informal relationships between patients during hospitalisation at a surgical gastroenterological department in Denmark

Research output: Other contributionResearch

  • Institute of Science in Nursing
  • The Department of Medicine and Nephrology C
Background: The hypothesis for the study is that the informal relationships amongst patients during hospitalisation have more influence on wellbeing, understanding of own illnesses and recovery than we until now have recognised in nursing. Aim: The purpose is to describe patients' experiences of informal relationships, and interpret the meaning of having fellow-patients during hospitalisation. Three main dimensions are explored; attitudes toward own illness, interpersonal relationships and environmental factors. Questions such as how do patients pass time, find out about illnesses, examinations, treatment, and staff members will be attended to. A specific focus on contrasting experiences is made in order to enhance a better understanding of patients' interactions. Methods: I explore patients' social interactions in their day-to-day lives in two adult surgical units at a University Hospital in Denmark. Theoretically the study is guided by the philosophical work of Ricoeur, and anthropological work of Mattingly. It has a narrative analytical approach and is based on ethnographic fieldwork including participating observations during a period of one and a half year, and approximately 20 in depth-interviews. The material will consist of field-notes, interviews, and audio-video recordings of interactions between patients. The material will be analysed with inspiration from Mattingly's ideas of narrative, drawing on the work of Ricoeur's term of emplotment developed through considering the narrative structures of fiction and history. Especially her way of bringing the term emplotment directly into the area of social action, I find inspiring. Conclusions:The study is ongoing. Yet it is not clear in what perspectives the findings will be interpreted, but age, body, gender, time and space might be relevant. More knowledge and better understanding about patients' lives would give nurses and other professionals more scope to identify and oblige patient needs and preferences during hospitalisation and in planning nursing care.
Original languageEnglish
Publication year2004
Place of publicationUniversity of Bergen, Norway
Publication statusPublished - 2004

    Research areas

  • nursing, ethnography, informal relationships, hospitalised patients

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