Shaw, Monica and Heyman, Bob (1980) Constructs of relationships and issues of authority in nursing. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 5 (2). pp. 187-198. ISSN 0309-2402

The research on which this paper is based was designed to investigate nurses' perceptions of relationships in their work. The most important issue to emerge from their descriptions of relationships was that of the nature of authority. From their own accounts; examples of which are included in this paper; it can be seen that views of authority in the hospital setting are both complex and varied. We have identified four different types of authority as seen by nurses: parental, reciprocal, political and arbitrary. Our research suggests that any analysis of authority relationships based purely on structural arrangements would be too simplistic. One possible implication of the findings we present might be that more explicit discussion of the nature of authority in nursing relationships should be encouraged both in training and subsequently.