Effective nursing care of adolescents with anorexia nervosa: A consumer perspective

Joel Zugai, Jane Stein-Parbury, Michael Roche

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Aims and objectives: To establish how nurses ensure weight gain and a positive inpatient experience for the treatment of adolescents with anorexia nervosa by considering consumer perspectives. Background: Consumer perspective literature indicates approval and dissatisfaction with certain aspects of the inpatient experience, and there is a limited understanding of what consumers perceive to be effective nursing practice. Design: The design of this study was qualitative, the data being interpreted with a thematic analysis. Methods: This study sought the perspectives of eight (n = 8) recovered consumers through semi-structured interviews. Results: Nurses were considered highly influential over the inpatient experience. The findings of this study are characterised by three overall themes regarding nursing practice: (1) ensuring weight gain, (2) maintaining a therapeutic milieu, and (3) the nursing relationship. Conclusions: Consumers have clear perspectives of how nurses effectively ensure weight gain and how nurses ensure a positive inpatient experience. The quality of relationships between consumers and nurses had implications for both weight gain and the perceived quality of the inpatient experience. By relying on the strength of positive, thoughtful and well-timed interactions, nurses may contribute to productive physical outcomes and a positive inpatient experience. Consumers indicated that motivation to adhere to care was derived from strong relationships with nurses. Ensuring both weight gain and a positive experience involves achieving a productive 'balance of restrictions'. Consumers also valued nurses that created a comfortable and productive environment. Relevance to clinical practice: This study indicates that the process of weight gain may be enhanced when accompanied by a process of therapeutic engagement. Therapeutic alliance may be an effective way for nurses to ensure weight gain and an enhanced inpatient experience. Therapeutically beneficial relationships may enhance treatment and possibly enhance outcomes for consumers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2020-2029
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number13-14
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes


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