What Can I Do as a Health Practitioner?

Good health is supported by partnership systems and undermined by domination systems, so your dedication to healing and wellness makes you a natural partnership leader.

Partnership Healthcare Systems

Partnership-oriented healthcare systems (as described in Eisler’s and Potter’s Transforming Interprofessional Partnerships: A New Framework for Nursing and Partnership-Based Health Care) are essential to support good health. Yet the healthcare systems we’ve inherited are still largely shaped by our legacy of domination.

  • Many healthcare systems perpetuate the rigid hierarchies of domination systems. Doctors “give orders” that both nurses and patients are expected to unquestioningly obey. Patients are treated as the objects of medical intervention, rather than as partners in caring for their own health.
  • Many healthcare systems perpetuate the domination system’s ranking male over female, and ranking those things associated with “masculinity” (like technology) over matters associated with “femininity” (like care).  This is why nursing, a primarily female profession, has not been given full respect and value.
  • Studies show that abuse and violence (e.g. bullying and intimidation) are still part of many healthcare cultures. In cultures orienting to the domination system, the institutionalization and even idealization of abuse and violence is used to maintain hierarchies of domination.

The good news is that evidence shows that using the partnership system in healthcare organizations generates better outcomes for patients and greater satisfaction and engagement of staff.  You can become an advocate for and implementer of the partnership system in your workplace by learning about exciting examples of partnership-oriented healthcare organizations.

As a practitioner, you know that while good healthcare systems are very important, good health is ultimately the product of social factors, such as access to good nutrition, clean water and air, education, freedom from violence, and family and community connectedness. Health-eroding factors such as poverty, discrimination, an unhealthy natural environment, violence, and stress are inherent in cultures orienting to the domination system. As we learn more about how unhealthy domination systems are, it becomes clear that health practitioners have a vital role in transforming the larger culture so the work of caring for people and nature is truly valued and supported.



Readings for cultural transformation:

The Power of Partnership by Riane Eisler, a hands-on guide to personal and social healing.

“The Power of Partnership is the right medicine for virtually everything that ails our society and planet right now.” ~ Christine Northrup, MD, author of Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom.

Readings for partnership healthcare cultures:

Transforming Interprofessional Partnerships: A New Framework for Nursing and Partnership-Based Health Care by Riane Eisler and Teddie Potter.  Winner of both national and international awards, this book advocates for partnership health care models and inclusivity and diversity.  It shows how to shift from hierarchies of domination and isolated professions to high-functioning, collaborative teams ready to be full partners with patients, families, communities, and one another.

Partnership-Based Health Care: Suggestions for Effective Application by Teddie Potter

Themes in Health Care Culture: Application of Cultural Transformation Theory by Julie Kennedy Oehlert