Consumerism in health care: The case of medication education

J. Rycroft-Malone, S. Latter, P. Yerrell, D. Shaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Background The United Kingdom government's policy documents spanning the last decade clearly envisage the patient as a consumer of health care. In this context this paper discusses recent research findings related to the health-promotion practice of medication delivered by nurses in England in a variety of health care settings. Literature exploring consumerism in health care highlights a number of principles which were used to develop a framework to evaluate the data collected in this study. Method Non-participant observation and audio-recordings of nurse-patient interactions about medications were collected in seven different contexts focusing on adults, older people, mental health and community nurse settings. Post-interaction interviews with nurse and patient participants were conducted to explore views on quality, satisfaction with, and intended outcomes of, the interactions. Findings Generally, the findings demonstrated that the espoused theory and practice reality regarding the carrying out of consumerist principles are incongruous. Interactions contained relatively simple information, were dominated and led by nurses and offered little opportunity for patient choice. Patients, however, expressed a satisfaction with minimal information and involvement. Conclusion The findings are discussed with reference to a number of different contextual factors: acuity of illness, perceived balance of power, information gaps, patterns of contact and nurse-patient relationships, and patient-centred care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-230
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Nursing Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management

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