Rural general practice patients’ coping with hazards and harm: an interview study
Design: Interview study using systematic text condensation and coping strategy theory in an abductive analysis process.
Setting: Nine rural general practice clinics in Norway.
Participants: Twenty participants, aged 21–79 years, all presenting with recent onset of somatic and/or psychiatric complaints.
Results: Participating rural general practice patients described their experiences of a variety of hazards and harms. Their three most discussed cognitive and behavioural coping strategies were: (1) to accept the events; (2) to confront them and (3) to engage in planful problem-solving. While the participants demonstrated a tendency toward accepting hazards and harm that their regular general practitioner created, they were often willing to confront those that locum (ie, substitute) general practitioners created. Participants used planful problem-solving in situations they deemed hazardous, such as breaches of confidentiality or not being taken seriously, as well as during potential/actual emergencies.
Conclusions: Patients at rural general practice clinics actively identify and respond to hazards and harm, applying three coping strategies. Thus, patients themselves may serve as an important safety barrier against hazards and harm; their potential contributions to improving patient safety must be appreciated accordingly and reflected in future research as well as in everyday clinical practice.