Vuckovich, Paula K.
Artinian, Barbara M.
Nursing Ethics 2005 July; 12(4): 370-380
A grounded theory study of psychiatric nurses' experiences of administering medication to involuntary psychiatric patients revealed a basic social process of justifying coercion. Although the 17 nurses interviewed all reported success at avoiding the use of coercion, each had an individual approach to using the nurse- patient relationship to do this. However, all the nurses used the same process to reconcile themselves to using coercion when it became necessary. This has three stages: assessment of need; negotiation; and justifying and taking coercive action. Two critical junctures--decision to engage and impasse - determine the progression from one stage to the next. The process of justifying coercion allows a nurse to engage in behavior generally disapproved of while retaining a self-image of a 'good' nurse.
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