Hermeneutic notions illuminate cross-cultural nursing experiences

Authors


Deborah Spence, Principal Lecturer, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Auckland University of Technology, Private Bag 92006, Auckland, New Zealand. E-mail: deb.spence@aut.ac.nz

Abstract

Hermeneutic notions illuminate cross-cultural nursing experiences

Aim of paper. To articulate selected hermeneutic notions for the purpose of extending current understanding of cross-cultural nursing practice.

Background. This paper builds upon the findings of a New Zealand project that explored the experience of nursing people from cultures other than one’s own (Spence 1999). The project asserted that the notions of prejudice, paradox and possibility portray a nursing view of this phenomenon.

Argument. The discussion is based on philosophical hermeneutics as interpreted from the works of Gadamer (1996), Taylor (1985a, 1985b, 1995) and Lampert (1997). However the emphasis in this paper, rather than being methodological, is on showing how specific hermeneutic notions contribute to deeper understanding of the nature of cross-cultural practice. It is argued that contact with, and the capacity to explore, the play of conflicting prejudices and possibilities enhances understanding of the complex and paradoxical nature of cross-cultural nursing.

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