Toward a theory of touch: the touching process and acquiring a touching style

Authors


Carole A Estabrooks 11231-75 Avenue, Edmonton Alberta T6G OH4 Canada

Abstract

Methods of grounded theory were used to explore the questions How do intensive care nurses perceive touch and the process of touching? How do intensive care nurses learn to touch? Data were collected by in-depth interviews with eight experienced intensive care nurses from the same intensive care unit of a large urban Canadian hospital Findings revealed two substantive processes, the touching process and acquiring a touching style, neither of which has been previously reported The stages and phases of these processes are described as well as cueing, the core variable Based on the data analysis, touch was conceptualized as a gestalt with multiple dimensions, suggesting that valid operational definitions of touch must incorporate more than skin-to-skin contact

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