Weighing in primary-care nurse–patient interactions


This article analyzes the interactions through which primary-care nurses and patients accomplish patient weighing. The analysis is based on videotaped nurse–adult patient interactions in clinics in the area of Southern California. Detailed examination of co-participants’ naturally situated weighing conduct shows that parties recurrently deliver utterances that go beyond that required to accomplish weight measurement–precisely ‘‘where’’ they ‘‘are’’ within the weighing process shaping how they produce and understand these utterances. Using weighing as a locus of epistemic negotiation and potential affiliation, co-participants interactionally achieve the distribution of weight/weighing knowledge and the character of their social relationship. Confronting their numerical weight results in a social/medical setting, patients can use expansive weighing utterances to claim or demonstrate that they possess pre-existing knowledge regarding weight, asserting independent expertise vis-a` -vis nurses and claiming result co-recipiency and co- ownership. Speakers can also use expansive utterances to proffer an interactional opportunity for affiliation, inviting recipients to collaborate in producing a more personalized encounter. Through the acceptance or declination of these invitations, the parties work out ‘‘who’’ they ‘‘are’’ to and for one another.


Communication, Sociology

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Social Science and Medicine



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