The meaning of caring in the nursing role
By: Virginia Knowlden
Published: 1985
Uploaded: 10/19/2006
Uploaded by: Pocket Masters
Pockets: Gottesman Libraries Archive, Historical Dissertations
Tags: Care of the sick, Nurse and patient, Nursing, Practice

Virginia Knowlden
This study of the meaning of caring as a dimension of the nursing role explored how nurses employed by home health care agencies included caring in the nurse-patient relationship. The research question was concerned with what behaviors in the nurse-patient interaction were identified as caring. In this study, patients and nurses separately observed their videotaped nurse-patient interactions. They then explained their perceptions of the caring component observable in the interaction. The nurse and patient responses were recorded verbatim and the data were classified according to the categories which emerged from the analysis of the data. Content analysis facilitated the analysis of the obtained data and the identification of themes suggested.
When nurse response categories were compared with patient response categories, it was found that ten of the 20 categories were similar for both groups. Five categories belonged solely to patient responses, and four belonged to nurse responses. Based on concepts from communication theory the categories were integrated into two categories, content and relationship. In responses reflecting nursing content, there was congruence between nurse and patient responses in three categories: health teaching, assessment, and physical care. Two categories, advocacy and knowledge, emerged from patient responses, and three categories: supplying resources, planning for the future, and safety, from nurse responses. In responses reflecting relationship, seven categories showed evidence of agreement between nurse and patient responses: concern, progress and hope, listening, the personal relationship, building self-esteem, touching, and laughter and humor. Five categories derived only from patient responses∆ specific attributes of the nurse, gentle and careful, telling what the nurse found, considerate, and understanding. Two, collaborating and counseling, derived from nurse responses alone.
This study exemplified the integral complementarity of communication in the caring dimension of the nursing role. The nursing process, methods and techniques were vehicles through which the interpersonal component was transmitted. The findings of this study supported communication theory in that the existence of caring in the nurse-patient relationship facilitated the communication process and the nursing care process.

Sponsor: Eugene V. Martin
Dissertation Committee: Elizabeth Maloney
Degree: Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University