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Male Nurses’ Dealing with Tensions and Conflicts with Patients and Physicians: A Theoretically Framed Analysis

Authors Mao A, Wang J, Zhang Y, Cheong PL, Van IK, Tam HL

Received 9 July 2020

Accepted for publication 11 August 2020

Published 29 September 2020 Volume 2020:13 Pages 1035—1045

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/JMDH.S270113

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser


Video abstract of "Male nurses’ dealing with tensions and conflicts" [ID 270113].

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Aimei Mao,1 Jialin Wang,2 Yuan Zhang,3 Pak Leng Cheong,1 Iat Kio Van,1 Hon Lon Tam1

1Kiang Wu Nursing College of Macau, Macau, People’s Republic of China; 2College of Nursing, Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chengdu, Sichuan, People’s Republic of China; 3Department of Nursing, Neijiang Health Vocational College, Neijiang, Sichuan, People’s Republic of China

Correspondence: Jialin Wang
College of Nursing, Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 1166 Liutai Road, Wenjiang District, Chengdu, Sichuan, People’s Republic of China
Tel +86 2861800057
Email wangjialin@cdutcm.edu.cn

Proposes: Delivery of healthcare involves engagements of patients, nurses and other health professionals. The Social Identity Theory (SIT) can provide a lens to investigate intergroup interactions. This study explores how male nurses deal with intergroup tensions and conflicts with patients and physicians when delivering healthcare.
Methods: A collaborative qualitative research study was conducted by two research teams, with one from Mainland China and the other from Macau. Twenty-four male nurses were recruited, with 12 from each of the two regions. A similar guide was used by the two teams to conduct in-depth interviews with the participants. Thematic analysis was used, and SIT guided the data analysis and interpretation of the results.
Results: Four themes identified are related to nurse/patient relationships: respecting patients’ decisions, neglecting minor offenses, defending dignity, taking a dominant position; two themes are related to nurse/physician relationships: rationalizing physicians’ superiority over nurses, establishing relationships with physicians by interpersonal interactions.
Conclusion: Male nurses avoid confrontation with patients in case of disagreements but take on gender- and profession-based dominance in dealing with intense conflicts to maintain healthcare order. They do not challenge the status hierarchy between nurses and physicians but manage to maintain harmonious relationships with physicians by engaging in interpersonal activities with physicians in leisure times.
Implication: Male nurses can take the lead to create inclusive groups to engage patients and physicians in delivering healthcare. The masculine traits of male nurses do not subvert the nurse/physician hierarchy stereotype but strengthen it.

Keywords: male nurses, gender, intergroup, patients, physicians, Social Identity Theory

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