The interactional consequences of 'empowering discourse' in intercultural patient education

Tonia Crawford*, Peter Roger, Sally Candlin

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    14 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective Patient education is an important part of nurses’ roles; however the inconsistent quality of communication skills, including those of registered nurses (RNs) from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds, risk patient safety. Empowerment in patient education has been found to influence patients’ self-efficacy and participation in decision-making. Discourse analysis of a whole interaction is used in this paper to trace the consequences of patient education where empowering discourse is displayed by an RN from a CALD background. Methods Ethnographic techniques of participant observation and audio recordings of naturally occurring interactions between nurses from CALD backgrounds and their patients were conducted and analysed using interactional sociolinguistic (IS) and theme oriented discourse analytic approaches. Results The interactional consequences of the nurse's empowering approach are readily observable in the data. The RN addresses the patient's education needs through a respectful encounter that illustrates the patient's active involvement. Conclusion Examining the interactional consequences of empowering discourse demonstrates its effectiveness, and illustrates how empowering behaviour can be integrated into patient education, thus offering an alternative to traditional approaches. Practical implications Greater awareness of how to use empowering discourse will offer an alternative and consistent approach that enables nurses to facilitate patient-centred education.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)495-500
    Number of pages6
    JournalPatient Education and Counseling
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017


    • discourse analysis
    • empowerment
    • intercultural communication
    • patient education


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