Shared decision making or paternalism in nursing consultations? A qualitative study of primary care asthma nurses’ views on sharing decisions with patients regarding inhaler device selection

1st March 2011

A new study on nurses’ attitudes to shared decision-making, published online in Health Expectations (doi:10.1111/j.1369-7625.2010.00653.x)1 confirms the gap between publicly stated policy and day to day clinical practice. The study, which focuses on nurses’ approach to decision making in inhaler choice and long-term inhaler use, highlights the challenge of implementing the patient centred approach featured in the Government’s new Health White Paper.2

The study reveals the first qualitative data on primary care asthma nurses attitudes to shared decision-making, and makes recommendations on how sharing decisions with patients can be improved. Semi-structured interviews, with 20 qualified nurses who routinely undertook asthma consultations, allowed investigation of the difference between shared decision-making as presented in the academic literature and NHS policy, and the nurses’ actual experiences.