Monash University
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The Lived Experience of Being a Health Care Consumer

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posted on 2016-09-28, 02:58 authored by Jennifer NewtonJennifer Newton

The lived experience of being a healthcare consumer


Nurses as consumers of health care are uniquely placed to respond to the current crisis in care, identifying gaps in service provision as well as observing first hand whether care meets the competencies of their registering authority.

Study objective

This project aimed to explore nurses’ experience of being a patient or a consumer of healthcare through the care of a loved one.


Using a qualitative phenomenological approach (van Manen, 2014) 14 registered nurses who had been a hospitalised patient or had identified as the primary carer for a hospitalised patient responded to an advertisement to participate. Each participant was interviewed on two occasions about six months apart. Interviews were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim.


In depth analysis, involving inclusion of participants’ reflections from their second interviews is still in process. However, some preliminary themes are emerging:

To disclose or not: Nurses are not sure whether to disclose their profession when in a care-recipient position.

I am a patient: Participants shared they want to be treated as a patient, not a nurse, though wanted to be included in decision-making discussions.

Being in the moment: There is a distinction between nursing practice and nursing care. The concept of caring is described as ‘being in the moment’ with the patient. Concern was voiced on the lack of compassion that many of them experienced.


The focus of person-centred care in every-day practice is an essential element that needs to be at the forefront of care delivery. We need to embrace a workplace culture where ‘doing the little things’ are not considered unimportant but are an essential component of care. Hearing the voice of health care consumers will only be effective if such lived experiences are translated into education, practice and management.

Poster presented at the ATBH VIII conference, Oxford University- 6th-9th Sept, 2016.


Nurses Board of Victoria Legacy Limited Major Grants


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