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What is caring?
- Caring is a universal phenomenon influencing the ways in which people think, feel, and behave in relation to one another.
- Caring means that persons, events, projects, and things matter to people. It is a word for being connected.
- Caring determines what matters to a person. It underlies a wide range of interactions, from parental love to friendship, from caring for one's work to caring for one's pet, to caring for and about one's patients.
- Caring is a moral imperative, not a commodity to be bought and sold. Caring for other human beings protects, enhances, and preserves human dignity.
What is meant by an ethic of care?
- Concerned with the relationship between the patient and the nurse and the attitude of each toward the other
- Places the nurse as the patients advocate who solves ethical dilemmas by creating a relationship
- Gives priority to each patient as a unique being
- An ethic of care is unique so professional nurses do not make professional decisions based solely on intellectual or analytical principles. Instead, an ethic of care places caring at the center of decision making.
How is caring demonstrated in nursing practice?
- Behaviors include being present, providing a caring touch, and listening.
- Knowing the patient: develops over time
- Spiritual care
- Relieving pain and suffering
- Caring is a product of culture, values, experiences, and relationships with others.
What nursing behaviors are perceived by families as caring?
- Being honest
- Advocating for patient's care preferences
- Giving clear explanations
- Keeping family members informed
- Asking permission before doing something to a patient
- Providing comfort (e.g., offering warm blanket, rubbing a patient's back)
- Reading patient passages from religious texts, favorite book, cards, or mail
- Providing for and maintaining patient privacy
- Assuring the patient that nursing services will be available
- Helping patients do as much for themselves as possible
- Teaching the family how to keep the relative physically comfortable
Why has caring become a challenge in todays health care setting?
- Nurses are torn between the human caring model and the task-oriented biomedical model and institutional demands that consume their practice.
- Nurses have increasingly less time to spend with patients, making it much harder to know who they are. A reliance on technology and cost-effective health care strategies and efforts to standardize and refine work processes all undermine the nature of caring. Too often patients become just a number, with their real needs either overlooked or ignored.