Graduate School of Nursing
Dissertation Committee Chair
constructive encounters, difficult encounters, home care, home health care, human-to-human relationship, mitigating risk, nonconstructive encounters, nurse-patient encounters, reciprocality, reciprocity
Health Services Administration | Nursing
Dissertations, UMMS; Nurse-Patient Relations; Home Care Services; Home Health Nursing; Home Nursing; Nurses, Community Health
The purpose of this study was to explore nurse-patient encounters from the perspective of the Home Healthcare Registered Nurse. A qualitative descriptive design was used to collect data from a purposive sample of 20 home healthcare registered nurses from Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island currently or previously employed as a home healthcare nurse. Four themes and one interconnecting theme emerged from the data: Objective Language; Navigating the Unknown; Mitigating Risk; Looking for Reciprocality in the Encounter; and the interconnecting theme of Acknowledging Not All Nurse-Patient Encounters Go Well. One goal of the study was to propose an empirically informed definition of what constituted a difficult encounter. An important early finding was that the terms difficult patient and difficult encounter were not generally used by study participants. HHC RNs voiced a preference for objective and nonjudgmental language to communicate outcomes of nurse-patient encounters. Three types of HHC RN-patient interactions emerged from the data, with constructive encounters the norm and non-constructive or destructive encounters less frequent. A constructive encounter is when two or more human beings, the nurse on the one side, and the patient, caregiver, or both on the other, interact to achieve a mutually agreed upon outcome. A nonconstructive encounter is when one or more human beings obstruct efforts to achieve at least one positive outcome. A destructive encounter is when one or more human beings direct anger at or physically aggress toward another human being. Strategies to promote reciprocality are routinely employed during HHC RN-patient encounters, but HHC RNs who miss cues that a strategy is ineffective or failed may be at risk in the home. Study data lend support to key concepts, assumptions, and propositions of Travelbee’s (1971) Human-to-Human Relationship Model. Study results provide a foundation for further research to increase the understanding, recognition, and development of empirically derived responses to non-constructive or destructive encounters such that HHC RNs are safe and best able to meet patients’ healthcare needs.
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Falkenstrom, M. Exploratory Study of Nurse-Patient Encounters in Home Healthcare: A Dissertation. (2016). University of Massachusetts Medical School. Graduate School of Nursing Dissertations. Paper 45. https://escholarship.umassmed.edu/gsn_diss/45