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The Unpopular Patient

Felicity Stockwell

Peter Griffiths, Professor of Health Services Research

Reason you chose this book

This book has stayed with me since I first read it – the basic concept ‘ the unpopular patient’ challenges nurses to consider both the values they bring to interactions and the extent to which the dynamics of hospital wards are designed to suit professionals – not patients.


The Unpopular Patient reports on a study carried out in the late 1960's, as part of The Department of Health and Social Security/RCN 'Study of Nursing Care' project, whose aim was to develop techniques of measuring the quality of nursing care. This series of books was ground breaking in establishing nursing as a research based profession. In common with many ground breaking studies in sociology, such as Goffman’s analysis of the Total Institution, the Unpopular Patient gives us a concept that can be used to look at the world in a new light and to understand the dynamics of nurse patient relationships. Times have changed considerably since Stockwell’s study, but the insights from this book can still shed light on care today.

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Page last updated - 03/08/2019