How adolescent patients use ward space

Alison Hutton

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    15 Citations (Scopus)


    Aim.: This paper is a report of a study of the use of ward space in a purpose-built adolescent ward and the influence of that space on both adolescent patients and nurses. Background.: A separate ward environment gives adolescent patients opportunities to be with peers, have privacy and independence and be nursed away from younger children. The aim of adolescent wards is to cater for these differences and to set routines around this age group. Methods.: Data were collected between 2002 and 2003 by participant observation and interview. In total 35 observations were undertaken of both adolescents and nursing staff, with associated interviews. A further 17 semi-structured individual nurse and 11 adolescent interviews were conducted, aimed at exploring the use of ward space. Patient demographics, ward policies and patient information sheets were also used. Findings.: Adolescent patients created their own spaces on the ward from personal effects that were of interest to them. These spaces show nurses who they are. Adolescent patients want to be identified as more than 'just' a patient when they are in hospital. What the creation of these spaces does is assist the adolescent patient in escaping the homogeneity of the ward by cutting across its activities. Conclusions.: By understanding patients through their self-created spaces, nurses can improve the capacity of adolescents to contribute to their own care, whilst enhancing their care experiences through understanding and collaboration.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1802-1809
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010


    • Adolescents
    • Ethnography
    • Heterotopia
    • Nurse-patient relationship
    • Nursing


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