Modern healthcare is burgeoning with patient centred rhetoric where physicians “share power” equally in their interactions with patients. However, how physicians actually conceptualise and manage their power when interacting with patients remains unexamined in the literature. This study from Laura Nimmon and Terese Stenfors-Hayes explored how power is perceived and exerted in the physician-patient encounter from the perspective of experienced physicians.
Although the “sharing of power” is an overarching goal of modern patient-centred healthcare, this study highlighted how this concept does not fully capture the complex ways experienced physicians perceive, invoke, and redress power in the clinical encounter. Based on the insights, the authors suggest that physicians learn to enact ethical patient-centered therapeutic communication through reflective, effective, and professional use of power in clinical encounters.