Academic journal article Journal of Theory Construction and Testing

A Multidisciplinary Concept Analysis of Empowerment: Implications for Nursing

Academic journal article Journal of Theory Construction and Testing

A Multidisciplinary Concept Analysis of Empowerment: Implications for Nursing

Article excerpt

Abstract:

According to the Institute of Medicine, nursing has failed to effectively shape the health care system and to advocate successfully for patients. Empowerment may be a potent tool to fulfill these responsibilities, yet nurses have not benefited from considering application of the concept to the continuum of health care advocacy in their communities, in their relationships with clients, and in their professional roles within health care organizations. This paper uses concept analysis to examine the attributes, characteristics, and uses of empowerment within diverse disciplines to clarify its meaning and explore its potential application to nursings challenges that cross settings, disciplines, and time.

Key Words: Advocacy, empowerment, multidisciplinary, nursing profession, power

Empowerment is a potent tool for nursing to influence patient safety, quality of care and equitable access to care (Beason, 2005; Busch, 2003; Dingle-Stewart & LaCoste, 2004). Public concern with these issues arose from a seminal report issued by the Institute of Medicine (IOM). Keeping Patients Safe: Transforming the Work Environment of Nurses (2004) identified nursings failure to effectively shape the health care system and to advocate successfully for healthier communities, individuals, and for nurses themselves.

A clear understanding of empowerment is necessary for nurses to take advantage of this important tool. The concept of empowerment, however, is ambiguous and abstract and has been used in diverse disciplines with distinctly different meanings, dependent upon context and perspective. The authors employed methods of concept analysis derived from Walker & Avant (1995) to examine the attributes, characteristics and applications of empowerment in nursing and other disciplines. This analysis clarified the meaning of empowerment and its potential to influence the role of nurses in community advocacy, nursing care of individuals, and empowerment of nurses within health care organizations.

Seven formal concept analyses of empowerment have appeared in the nursing literature (Ellis-Stoll & Popkess-Vawter, 1998; Gibson, 1991; Hawks, 1992; Kuokkanen, 2000; Rodwell, 1996; Ryles, 1999; Skelton, 1994); however, this concept analysis is unique for two reasons. A multidisciplinary perspective enabled the authors to explore empowerment's influence across time, disciplines, and settings. Despite reluctance of earlier investigators to operationalize the concept, authors of this analysis provide clear evidence that empowerment can be measured.

Literature Review

A literature search of empowerment was conducted with keywords limited to empower and empowerment to minimize confusion with related but different concepts. Information was retrieved from an Ovid search of Medline (1950-2007), PsychINFO (19672007) and CINAHL (1987-2007), OVID Full Text Journals (n.d.-2007), and Your Journals @ OVID (n.d.-2007). The JStor database was searched to identify historical uses of the concept and online publishers EBSCOHost and PROQuest, active since the early 1990s, were accessed to retrieve literature from disciplines outside of health care. Online sites Google, Yahoo, MSN Live Search, Ask, About, MIVA, and LookSmart were searched to identify current popular uses of the term.

Literature from nursing, psychology, sociology, social work, community action, disability advocacy, organizational leadership, business management, and education was retrieved. The term empowerment originated in the 1920s, but little use of the term was identified prior to the mid-1970s. A marked increase after 1990, continuing to the present, was noted. In an OVID search, mapping terms for empowerment were used ?? identify three main categories: employment, patient care, and psychology, while results of other online search engines were classified as health care, business or organizational management, community advocacy and social justice, and government or international development. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.