Original Research

Professional nurses’ experiences of caring for patients in public health clinics in Ekurhuleni, South Africa

Tintswalo V. Nesengani, Charlene Downing, Marie Poggenpoel, Chris Stein
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 11, No 1 | a1963 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v11i1.1963 | © 2019 Tintswalo V. Nesengani, Charlene Downing, Marie Poggenpoel, Chris Stein | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 September 2018 | Published: 10 June 2019

About the author(s)

Tintswalo V. Nesengani, Department of Nursing, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Charlene Downing, Department of Nursing, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Marie Poggenpoel, Department of Nursing, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Chris Stein, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Caring for patients is the core aspect of nursing and a cornerstone of all nursing duties. Although caring is seen as a critical component of nursing delivery and an essential characteristic of nursing, there seems to be a gap between theory and practice.

Aim: The aim of this article was to explore and describe the experiences of caring for patients by professional nurses in public health clinics in Ekurhuleni.

Setting: The study was conducted in Ekurhuleni, an area east of the Gauteng Province in two public health clinics.

Methods: A qualitative, exploratory, descriptive phenomenological and contextual research design was used. In-depth, individual phenomenological interviews were conducted with eight purposefully sampled professional nurses to explore their experiences of caring for patients in public health clinics in Ekurhuleni. Data were analysed using Giorgi’s coding method.

Results: Two themes were revealed in the study findings. The first theme was the experienced empowering aspects of caring while the second theme was the experienced disempowering aspects of caring. The experienced empowering aspects of caring had two categories: empowering interpersonal experiences and the empowering experiences through client affirmation. These were identified by the participants as enabling effective caring for patients. The experienced disempowering aspects of caring also had two categories: disempowering interpersonal experiences and the disempowering experiences resulting from public health clinic system challenges. The disempowering aspects were identified by participants as disenabling effective caring for patients.

Conclusion: The study findings reveal that the professional nurses had empowering and disempowering experiences while caring for patients in the public health clinics.


Keywords

caring; professional nurses; empowering; qualitative research; disempowering

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