Quandaries of Autonomy and Empowerment in Evidence-Based Nursing Care
Empowerment and evidence-based practice represent two influential principles in nursing care: that decision-making should be based upon the patient’s autonomous choice, and the most up-to-date research findings, respectively. In this article, patient empowerment is taken to imply a transfer of control and power from the nurse to the patient through communication and care and acknowledging the patient’s perspectives and values. Empowerment-based nursing may thus be central to enhancing a patient’s autonomy. Evidence-based nursing combines up-to-date research findings, the nurse’s clinical expertise and the patient’s preferences. This article concerns some of the potential conflicts these principles may give rise to in everyday deliberations in nursing care. It is argued that patient empowerment and autonomy potentially both have paternalistic connotations. It is also questioned whether an increased emphasis on patient empowerment and autonomy may lead to a risk of diminished professional autonomy.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Marita Nordhaug
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