n Africa Journal of Nursing and Midwifery - Patients’ perceptions of caring and uncaring nursing encounters in inpatient rehabilitation settings

Volume 21 Number 2
  • ISSN : 1682-5055



This study explores and describes caring and uncaring nursing encounters from the perspective of the patients admitted to inpatient rehabilitation settings in South Africa. The researchers used an exploratory descriptive design. A semi-structured interview guide was used to collect data through individual interviews with 17 rehabilitation patients. Content analysis allowed for the analysis of textual data. Five categories of nursing encounters emerged from the analysis: noticing and acting, and being there for you emerged as categories of caring nursing encounters, and being ignored, being a burden, and deliberate punishment emerged as categories of uncaring nursing encounters. Caring nursing encounters make patients feel important and that they are not alone on the rehabilitation journey, while uncaring nursing encounters make the patients feel unimportant and troublesome to the nurses. Caring nursing encounters give nurses an opportunity to notice and acknowledge the existence of vulnerability in the patients and encourage them to be present at that moment, leading to empowerment. Uncaring nursing encounters result in patients feeling devalued and depersonalised, leading to discouragement. It is recommended that nurses strive to develop personal relationships that promote successful nursing encounters. Further, nurses must strive to minimise the patients’ feelings of guilt and suffering, and to make use of tools, for example the self-perceived scale, to measure this. Nurses must also perform role plays on how to handle difficult patients such as confused, demanding and rude patients in the rehabilitation settings.

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