Nurses\' perceptions of difficult patients

  • J Roos
Keywords: difficult patients, patient factors, nursing staff factors, situational factors, dissatisfaction


The purpose of this article was to explain and describe how professional nurses in the health services experience difficult patients. A qualitative, descriptive research design was adopted. Data were collected by means of narratives, written by professional nurses who met the sampling criteria. The data analysis was done according to the protocol suggested by Tesch. Four major categories were identified. The first major category, namely patient factors, brought the following sub-categories to the fore: physical aspects and appearance; psychological factors; attitude factors; social factors and knowledge of the patient. The second major category, namely nursing factors, includes the following sub-categories: skills and experience, training and attitude. The third category, namely the situational factor, exists of the sub-category management, while the fourth category exists of one sub-category, namely that difficult patients do not exist. A literature control was done to verify the results. Conclusions and recommendations were made.

Keywords: difficult patients; patient factors; nursing staff factors; situational factors; dissatisfaction

Health SA Gesondheid Vol. 10 (1) 2005: pp. 52-61

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eISSN: 2071-9736
print ISSN: 1025-9848