The meaning of patient–nurse interaction for older women in healthcare settings: A Qualitative Descriptive Study

Darcy Mize

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Aims and objectives: The purpose of this study was to explore the meaning of patient–nurse interaction for older women receiving care in healthcare settings. Background: Older women are often overlooked or misunderstood by the nurses caring for them. Some research exists on nurses’ perception of their interaction with patients, yet few studies have described the meaning of such interaction from the patients’ perspective. Methods: This was a pilot study using qualitative description as a methodology. Data were filtered through a lens of critical feminist theory to interpret interactions taking place in healthcare settings that are often characterised by paternalism. Seven women between the ages of 66 and 81 were interviewed using a semi-structured guide. Results: Participants had a distinctive perspective on the experience of caring. Their expressions include stories of being cared for themselves by nurses as well as historical recalls of being the one-caring for family members. In these combined stories, the contrast between the nurses who held caring in primacy and those who were distinctly uncaring sheds light on the importance of cultivating a moral ideal of caring and respect for personhood. Conclusion: A population of older women who potentially face disabling conditions must rely on direct, meaningful, interaction with nurses to successfully navigate the healthcare system. The findings suggest that these women did not have consistent access to such interaction. Implications for practice: The gathering and interpretation of new narratives about patient–nurse interaction for older women could lead to a deeper understanding of power and civility as it impacts a caring relationship. Further research using a theoretical lens of critical feminism has implications for improving healthcare delivery for older women worldwide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12167
JournalInternational journal of older people nursing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2018


  • ageing
  • caring
  • empowerment
  • nurse attitudes
  • older people nursing
  • personhood
  • qualitative methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology


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