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Felicity Stockwell: the popular nurse who wrote The Unpopular Patient

Felicity Stockwell wrote The Unpopular Patient, which is regarded as one of the most influential pieces of nursing research ever written.

Felicity Stockwell wrote The Unpopular Patient, which is regarded as one of the most influential pieces of nursing research ever written.

Published in 1972, it studied the behaviour of nurses on general hospital wards. It was controversial because it revealed that not all patients received the same level of care: rather, it highlighted the fact that the quality of care nurses gave to patients was influenced by how ‘popular’ the patients were.

Reasons the nurses gave for finding some patients ‘difficult’ included:

  • Personality factors: selfish, bad-tempered.
  • Communication factors: uncooperative, grumbling.
  • Attitude factors: unwilling to accept treatment, reluctant to go home.
  • Nursing factors: does not need to be in hospital, not well known.

The Unpopular Patient quickly became a must-read for anyone interested in

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