Secondary Logo

Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

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

Falkenstrom, Mary Kate PhD, RN, AOCN

doi: 10.1097/ANS.0000000000000156
Family and Community Health

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.

Graduate School of Nursing, University of Massachusetts, Worcester.

Correspondence: Mary Kate Falkenstrom, PhD, RN, AOCN, Graduate School of Nursing, University of Massachusetts, Worcester 55 Lake Ave North Worcester, MA 01655 (

The author thanks Dr Nancy Morris, Dr Nina Kammerer, and Dr Robin Klar for their guidance and words of wisdom.

The author has disclosed she has not received funding and there is no financial interest of any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

Copyright © 2017 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.