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Keywords:

  • caring;
  • diary;
  • discourse;
  • human condition;
  • nursing;
  • situated knowledges;
  • text interpretation

Aims and objectives.  The aim of this study was to explore the content of individual acts of nursing care and to discuss how these context-specific acts relate to the concept of caring.

Design and methods.  The point of departure was a diary kept by a nurse on an oncology ward over a period of six months. Hermeneutic interpretation, including content analysis of verb phrases, was carried out to inspire reflection and discussion rather than to generalize.

Results.  The verbs that occurred in the diary text represented three categories of acts: physical care, speech and reflection.

Conclusions and discussion.  The diary text expresses the carer's acts as situated in a specific space and time through her presence, communication and reflection. The absence of bodies in this text points to the discourse of nursing as subjected to dualism and to the medical rules of knowledge. Caring emerges as experience-near action that through history is connected to situated knowledges, actual discourse and universal human condition.

Relevance to clinical practice.  This study demonstrated that caring acts are situated and conditioned and that they should therefore be researched in relation to the carers’ acts and thoughts. This confirms the need for cooperation between researchers and clinical nurses in the quest of deepening our understanding of caring.