BACKGROUND: Although the occurrence of malnutrition in hospitals is a growing concern, little is known about how hospital staff understand the care that nurses provide to patients with malnutrition. The purpose of this study was to explore nurses' views and experiences of caring for malnourished patients in Saudi Arabia (KSA).
METHODS: Using a qualitative explorative design, fifteen nurses were interviewed as part of a purposive sample hospital staff. The transcripts were analyzed using latent content analysis.
RESULTS: The nurses spontaneously and consistently linked malnutrition with physical inactivity. The two main categories, which emerged, were: 'Potentials for nurses to provide good nutrition and physical activity', and 'Having the ability but not the power to promote proper nutrition and physical activity'. These arose from the subcategories: Good nursing implies providing appropriate health education; Acknowledging the Mourafiq (sitter) as a potential resource for the nursing, but also as a burden; Inadequate control and lack of influence; Cultural diversity and lack of dialog; and Views of women's weight gain in KSA society.
CONCLUSIONS: The nurses felt they have the capacity and passion to further improve the nutrition and activity of their patients, but obstacles in the health care system are impeding these ambitions. The implications for nursing practice could be acknowledgement of the nurses' views in the clinical practice; culturally adjusted care, improved communication and enhanced language skills.
2014. Vol. 13, 29- p.