A Qualitative Study of Difficult Nurse-Patient Encounters in Home Health Care

UMMS Affiliation

Graduate School of Nursing

Publication Date


Document Type



Health Services Administration | Nursing


The purpose of this study was to explore nurse-patient encounters from the perspective of the home health care registered nurse. A qualitative descriptive design was used to collect data from a purposive sample of 20 nurses from Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island currently or previously employed as a home health care nurse. Four themes and 1 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. Three types of encounters-constructive, nonconstructive, and destructive-were defined.


constructive encounters, difficult encounters, home care, home health care, human-to-human relationship, mitigating risk, nonconstructive encounters, nurse-patient encounters, reciprocality, reciprocity


Falkenstrom MK. A Qualitative Study of Difficult Nurse-Patient Encounters in Home Health Care. ANS Adv Nurs Sci. 2016 Oct 28. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 27798435.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

ANS. Advances in nursing science


Mary Kate Falkenstrom undertook this study as a doctoral student (view her dissertation) in the Graduate School of Nursing at UMass Medical School.

Related Resources

Link to article in PubMed

PubMed ID