Empowerment is an essential element of multiple modern theories in nursing. However, despite its growing popularity, the lack of proper understanding of the concept has led to its misattribution and misidentification in a practical setting (Slatyer, Coventry, Twigg, & Davis, 2016). The following paper provides a comprehensive analysis of the concept of empowerment, as presented in the interpersonal theory. The analysis is based on the findings from the scholarly literature and backed by the examples of relevant cases from nursing practice.Nursing Empowerment in the Interpersonal Theory Essay
Definition of Empowerment
The most suitable definition of empowerment can be found in Peplau’s interpersonal theory. The latest version of the theory defines empowerment as the readiness of the patients to discuss terms of health care delivery, identify and fully comprehend their health needs, and share responsibilities with the providers in the decision-making process (Hosieni, Ravari, & Akbari, 2017). As can be seen, it is possible to view empowerment as a method of seeking autonomy from healthcare professionals and actively participate in the process. The promotion of empowerment is among the most important objectives of professional nursing activities.
As was mentioned above, the concept of empowerment has gained significant adoption in several nursing theories. However, it is important to note that its role is not universally agreed upon, leading to a variety of interpretations by different authors. In addition, its impact on the quality of health care is debated by some theorists. Nursing Empowerment in the Interpersonal Theory Essay
The concept was initially introduced in what is now known as the interaction theories of nursing, with Peplau’s interpersonal theory being one of the examples. According to the theorists, the patient first appears in the healthcare setting as a recipient of care without the means of participation (Hosieni et al., 2017). The goal of the nursing practitioners is, therefore, to equip the patients with the necessary tools and knowledge to shift from a passive observer to an active participant. For instance, nurses are expected to provide the individuals with knowledge regarding their condition and the skill to apply it in a practical setting. In addition, nurses should provide emotional support, which would promote the described knowledge application. Once the patient becomes sufficiently autonomous, it is possible to consider the relationships between them and the nurse a success.
Dorothea Orem proposed a similar view on empowerment but points to the importance of acknowledging the systemic component (Slatyer et al., 2016). According to Orem’s viewpoint, the success of patient outcomes depends on their ability to shift from dependence on healthcare providers to a self-care approach. The shift is facilitated through access to resources rather than nurses’ capacity for patient involvement and, therefore, relies on healthcare systems and the organization of facilities. Nursing Empowerment in the Interpersonal Theory Essay
In modern literature, the concept of empowerment is used primarily in the context of chronic conditions that pose no immediate threat to patient health and well-being. It is evident that in many cases, patient involvement does not provide sufficient relief. However, it is still considered by many experts a major variable in the treatment process. For example, according to the study by Chen, Wang, Lin, Hsu, and Chen (2015), empowerment plays an important role in the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
The results of the study suggested that the addition of a patient empowerment program reduces the mortality among the individuals impacted by the condition (Chen et al., 2015). The gradual shift towards online interactions between patients and healthcare professionals, as well as the incorporation of smart tools and instruments into the treatment process, also allows for the creative use of the empowerment concept. A study by Tang, Funnell, Sinco, Spencer, and Heisler (2015) evaluated the efficiency of a comprehensive empowerment program that included status reporting, medication intake logging, diet monitoring, and communication with the professional consultant. The obtained results identified the viability of the described approach.Nursing Empowerment in the Interpersonal Theory Essay
At this point, it is necessary to point out that the results above were obtained from patient populations with conditions that require significant individual engagement in order to achieve the desired result. Simply put, the interventions in question were highly compatible with the concept of empowerment. Therefore, it is reasonable to expect that in the situation where such alignment is absent, the results would be less prominent. Due to this fact, some of the results demonstrated by the studies show little to no effect of empowerment. For instance, a systematic review by Kuo, Lin, & Tsai (2014) demonstrated several inconsistencies and gaps in understanding pertinent to the field.
Specifically, a significant proportion of the articles used as sources of data contained significant methodological flaws, undermining the validity of the results. Perhaps more importantly, the aggregated results of the studies did not produce a convincing picture of empowerment as a core component (Kuo et al., 2014). Finally, it is apparent that the interventions described in the source materials differed significantly in content and implementation process, further diluting the relevance of the results. One of the possible reasons for such lack of specificity is the vagueness of the concept. According to the analysis by Barr et al. (2015), empowerment is defined in a wide variety of ways and through a number of sufficiently unique terms. In other words, despite the evident potential, the concept of empowerment remains relatively poorly defined in the academic domain, leading to a number of practical issues. Nursing Empowerment in the Interpersonal Theory Essay
Attributes of Empowerment
As was mentioned in the previous sections, communication is one of the key elements of successful empowerment. Thus, the commitment to stakeholders is required for a successful intervention. Considering the systemic nature of empowerment suggested by Orem, it is possible to include the access to organizational resources in the definition. In other words, collaboration is the first major attribute of the concept. The second attribute is a shared vision, which is required for aligning the efforts of nurses with those of the patients. By specifying the objectives, it is possible to increase the effectiveness of the actions. The third attribute of empowerment is the dynamic shift of responsibilities.