Title. The phenomenological focus group: an oxymoron?.
Aim. In this paper we explore the congruence of focus group interviews within a phenomenological framework.
Background. Focus groups as a research method are popular in nursing. Similarly, phenomenology is a dominant methodology for nurse researchers globally. A number of nurse researchers have combined focus groups and phenomenology, but there are others who argue that they are incompatible.
Discussion. The argument against using focus groups in phenomenological research is that phenomenology seeks essential characteristics or ‘essences’ of phenomena in a manner that requires an individual to describe their experiences in an ‘uncontaminated’ way. We recognize that traditionally most phenomenological interviews are conducted with only one interviewer and one respondent, but we question whether this needs to continue. We suggest means by which individual lived experience can be preserved within a group context. We draw on our own experience and the phenomenological literature to argue that focus groups are congruent with phenomenological research and extend this argument further by proposing that group interviews in phenomenology are actually beneficial because they stimulate discussion and open up new perspectives. Our observation is that some researchers who combine focus groups and phenomenology appear to do so uncritically and we argue that this is unacceptable.
Conclusions. It is important for nurse researchers to develop critical awareness of the research methodologies and methods they employ. We argue that the phenomenological focus group is not an oxymoron. Rather, the use of focus groups can provide a greater understanding of the phenomenon under study.
spence laschinger h.k., gilbert s., smith l.m. & leslie k. (2010) Journal of Nursing Management18, 4–13
Towards a comprehensive theory of nurse/patient empowerment: applying Kanter’s empowerment theory to patient care
Aim The purpose of this theoretical paper is to propose an integrated model of nurse/patient empowerment that could be used as a guide for creating high-quality nursing practice work environments that ensure positive outcomes for both nurses and their patients.
Background There are few integrated theoretical approaches to nurse and patient empowerment in the literature, although nurse empowerment is assumed to positively affect patient outcomes.
Evaluation The constructs described in Kanter’s (1993) work empowerment theory are conceptually consistent with the nursing care process and can be logically extended to nurses’ interactions with their patients and the outcomes of nursing care.
Key issues We propose a model of nurse/patient empowerment derived from Kanter’s theory that suggests that empowering working conditions increase feelings of psychological empowerment in nurses, resulting in greater use of patient empowerment strategies by nurses, and, ultimately, greater patient empowerment and better health outcomes.
Conclusions Empirical testing of the model is recommended prior to use of the model in clinical practice.
Implications for Nursing Management We argue that empowered nurses are more likely to empower their patients, which results in better patient and system outcomes. Strategies for managers to empower nurses and for nurses to empower patients are suggested.