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Qual Health Res. 2010 Aug;20(8):1116-27. doi: 10.1177/1049732310369914. Epub 2010 May 12.

Being in the patient position: experiences of health care among people with irritable bowel syndrome.

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Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.


The purpose of this study was to gain in-depth understanding of what it is like for a person with irritable bowel syndrome to be in the patient position in encounters with health care providers. We conducted qualitative interviews with nine individuals. Our analysis, guided by interpretive description, revealed experiences of unsupportive and supportive encounters. Unsupportive encounters were shaped by humiliation, insignificance, and abandonment. Not feeling believed and acknowledged as persons made the participants lose trust in their own experience, which enhanced their unfamiliar mood of being in the world. Supportive encounters were less prominent. These were characterized by openness and acknowledgment of the patient's lifeworld. Feeling significant and being listened to promoted feelings of being in a partnered, cocreating relationship. It is reasonable to assume that care originating in the patient's lifeworld would support the patients to use their strength to manage illness and regain familiarity in everyday life.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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