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A phenomenology of critical care: The lived experience of critical care nurses

This study investigates the experiences of twenty-two critical care nurses in an attempt to uncover the essential elements in the practice of critical care nursing. The study is grounded in the phenomenological hermeneutics of Martin Heidegger and argues that this methodology is compatible with the humanistic values of nursing. Data were generated from in-depth interviews and overt participant observation. The process of data analysis was guided by Heidegger's notions of phenomenological reflection and hermeneutic circle, Van Manen's (1990) process of thematic analysis and Draper's (1997) analytical principles. Five themes have been identified from the data. These are: (1) 'managing technology' which describes the nurse's relationship with the technological environment of the intensive care unit (2) 'communication with the patient which discusses the nurses' concern regarding the communication needs of the sedated and unconscious patient (3) 'deciding' which explores the decision-making process incorporated by the nurses and draw the attention to the nurses' involvement in ethical decisions (4) 'Humanising care' which describes the humanistic practices that the nurses implement in order not to lose sight of the patient's individual human identity (5) 'coping' which describes some of the situations and dilemmas facing the nurses in the unit with special concern to death as a source of stress and anxiety. The study concluded with an attempt to describe the ontological qualities of the study themes by drawing on Heidegger's concepts of care, involvement, being-in-the-world, understanding, death and his idea regarding our relationship with the technology. When viewed from Heideggerian perspective all the entities in the critical care unit are unified by the concepts of care and involvement which are considered the basic way of being-in-the-world as a critical care nurse. Finally the study suggests some practice and research possibilities.
Date January 2000
CreatorsAlasad, Jafer A.
PublisherUniversity of Manchester
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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