Delivering direct patient care in the haemodialysis unit: A focused ethnographic study of care delivery

Ailson Wood, Jennifer Tocher, Sheila Rodgers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Background: Direct patient care is a term used within nursing and healthcare to help quantify and qualify care delivery. Direct patient care time is considered as a valuable measure by healthcare providers to indicate efficiency and to quantify nursing work, however little is understood of the patient experience and care delivery in haemodialysis settings. Aim: To gain an understanding of patients’ and nursing staff perceptions and experiences of ‘direct patient care’ within one haemodialysis unit.Methods: A focused ethnographic approach utilised participant observations, informal questioning, photographs and 27 semi-structured interviews of registered nurses, clinical support workers and patients.Observation notes and interviews were transcribed and thematically analysed. Results: The key finding was the construction and reconceptualisation of care delivery in this setting. Care was identified to be delivered in two distinct ways, both of which allowed patients to feel cared for. ‘Active care’ where patients feel cared for when they are being dealt with directly by staff and ‘Passive care’ where patients feel cared for through staff availability and visibility.Conclusion: Developing this understanding of patient care delivery in this specialism has highlighted some important aspects to the way care can be delivered which challenges current traditional understandings of direct patient care. Time spent with a patient is not the only important consideration to patient experience in haemodialysis. This understanding of passive care could improve care experiences in this setting.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)712-725
JournalJournal of Research in Nursing
Issue number8
Early online date4 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 4 Dec 2019

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • communication
  • ethnography
  • location of care
  • nurses
  • nursing practice
  • nursing roles
  • organisation and service delivery
  • patient experience
  • qualitative
  • renal-urinary


Dive into the research topics of 'Delivering direct patient care in the haemodialysis unit: A focused ethnographic study of care delivery'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this