Investigating patients’ experiences: methodological usefulness of interpretive interactionism
Marion Tower Senior lecturer, School of Midwifery and Nursing, Griffith University, Nathan, Queensland, Australia
Jennifer Rowe Associate professor in nursing and associate dean, Faculty of Science, Health and Education, University of the Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore DC, Queensland, Australia
Marianne Wallis Professor, School of Midwifery and Nursing, Griffith University, Southport, Queensland, Australia
Aim To demonstrate the methodological usefulness of interpretive interactionism by applying it to the example of a study investigating healthcare experiences of women affected by domestic violence.
Background Understanding patients’ experiences of health, illness and health care is important to nurses. For many years, biomedical discourse has prevailed in healthcare language and research, and has influenced healthcare responses. Contemporary nursing scholarship can be developed by engaging with new ways of understanding therapeutic interactions with patients. Research that uses qualitative methods of inquiry is an important paradigm for nurses who seek to explain and understand or describe experiences rather than predict outcomes.
Discussion Interpretive interactionism is an interpretive form of inquiry for conducting studies of social or personal problems that have healthcare policy implications. It puts the patient at the centre of the research process and makes visible the experiences of patients as they interact with the healthcare and social systems that surround them. Interpretive interactionism draws on concepts of symbolic interactionism, phenomenology and hermeneutics.
Conclusion Interpretive interactionism is a patient- centred methodology that provides an alternative way of understanding patients’ experiences. It can contribute to policy and practice development by drawing on the perspectives and experiences of patients, who are central to the research process. It also allows research findings to be situated in and linked to healthcare policy, professional ethics and organisational approaches to care.
Implications for research/practice Interpretive interactionism has methodological utility because it can contribute to policy and practice development by drawing on the perspectives and experiences of patients who are central to the research process. Interpretive interactionism allows research findings to be situated in and linked to health policy, professional ethics and organisational approaches to caring.
20, 1, 39-44.
This article has been subject to double blind peer review
Conflict of interest
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