A participant observation study of power relations between nurses and doctors in a general hospital

Authors: Porter, S.

Journal: Journal of advanced nursing

Volume: 16

Issue: 6

Pages: 728-735

This data was imported from PubMed:

Authors: Porter, S.

Journal: J Adv Nurs

Volume: 16

Issue: 6

Pages: 728-735

ISSN: 0309-2402

DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.1991.tb01731.x

The problem addressed in this paper is how nurse-doctor power relations are manifested in a hospital setting. A review of the literature identified four major ideal types of interaction between nurses and doctors in decision-making processes. These were unproblematic subordination, informal covert decision making, informal overt decision making and formal overt decision making on the part of nurses. Each of these types was tested against empirical data gained from participant observation of interactions between the nurses and doctors working in an intensive care unit and a general medical ward. It was concluded that while both the unproblematic subordination and the informal covert decision-making types of interaction appeared superficially to be used frequently, closer examination revealed that, with the exception of nurse-consultant interactions, nurses were less dependent on these subordinate modes of interaction than much of the literature suggested. Formal overt decision making, despite official encouragement, was also infrequently utilized. However, it was noticed that senior nurses especially used informal overt strategies to involve themselves in decision-making sequences. Use of such strategies had the effect of reducing though not eliminating the power differential between doctors and nurses.

This data was imported from Scopus:

Authors: Porter, S.

Journal: Journal of Advanced Nursing

Volume: 16

Issue: 6

Pages: 728-735

eISSN: 1365-2648

ISSN: 0309-2402

DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.1991.tb01731.x

The problem addressed in this paper is how nurse‐doctor power relations are manifested in a hospital setting A review of the literature identified four major ideal types of interaction between nurses and doctors in decision‐making processes These were unproblematic subordination, informal covert decision making, informal overt decision making and formal overt decision making on the part of nurses Each of these types was tested against empirical data gained from participant observation of interactions between the nurses and doctors working in an intensive care unit and a general medical ward It was concluded that while both the unproblematic subordination and the informal covert decision‐making types of interaction appeared superficially to be used frequently, closer examination revealed that, with the exception of nurse‐consultant interactions, nurses were less dependent on these subordinate modes of interaction than much of the literature suggested Formal overt decision making, despite official encouragement, was also infrequently utilized However, it was noticed that senior nurses especially used informal overt strategies to involve themselves in decision‐making sequences Use of such strategies had the effect of reducing though not eliminating the power differential between doctors and nurses Copyright © 1991, Wiley Blackwell. All rights reserved

This data was imported from Europe PubMed Central:

Authors: Porter, S.

Journal: Journal of advanced nursing

Volume: 16

Issue: 6

Pages: 728-735

eISSN: 1365-2648

ISSN: 0309-2402

The problem addressed in this paper is how nurse-doctor power relations are manifested in a hospital setting. A review of the literature identified four major ideal types of interaction between nurses and doctors in decision-making processes. These were unproblematic subordination, informal covert decision making, informal overt decision making and formal overt decision making on the part of nurses. Each of these types was tested against empirical data gained from participant observation of interactions between the nurses and doctors working in an intensive care unit and a general medical ward. It was concluded that while both the unproblematic subordination and the informal covert decision-making types of interaction appeared superficially to be used frequently, closer examination revealed that, with the exception of nurse-consultant interactions, nurses were less dependent on these subordinate modes of interaction than much of the literature suggested. Formal overt decision making, despite official encouragement, was also infrequently utilized. However, it was noticed that senior nurses especially used informal overt strategies to involve themselves in decision-making sequences. Use of such strategies had the effect of reducing though not eliminating the power differential between doctors and nurses.

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