Love in Healthcare

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  • Title: Love in Healthcare: A Gadamerian Inquiry into Nurses’ Experience
  • Author(s): Sky Elisabeth Snook, Donna L. M. Kurtz, Penelope Cash, Jeanette Vinek
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Common Ground Open
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Health, Wellness, and Society
  • Keywords: Love in Healthcare, Nursing, Aesthetic Photography, Hermeneutics
  • Volume: 10
  • Issue: 1
  • Year: 2019
  • ISSN: 2156-8960 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2156-9053 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2156-8960/CGP/v10i01/13-32
  • Citation: Snook, Sky Elisabeth, Donna L. M. Kurtz, Penelope Cash, and Jeanette Vinek. 2019. "Love in Healthcare: A Gadamerian Inquiry into Nurses’ Experience." The International Journal of Health, Wellness, and Society 10 (1): 13-32. doi:10.18848/2156-8960/CGP/v10i01/13-32.
  • Extent: 20 pages

Abstract

Love as a fundamental element of wellbeing is a phenomenon that has been explored since questions of philosophy began. Only in more recent times has love been explored in healthcare, though most likely, it has always been there. Part of everyday life, love’s necessity in wellness, illness, and even healthcare is increasingly recognized, for in the absence of love, illness, addiction, failure-to-thrive, and death are seen. Yet understanding the experience of love in healthcare is limited, particularly from the nurse’s perspective, regardless of the idea that perhaps the profession itself is based on altruistic love for humanity. This research aimed to increase understanding of love in healthcare from the nurse’s perspective using a qualitative Gadamerian approach and the hermeneutic circle. A Fusion-of-Horizons between previous understandings, and the photography and interview experiences of six nurse participants, was created. It was discovered that love manifests in forms of being, awareness, action, and connection, that love present in healthcare is reflective of love in life, and that understanding of love comes through the experience of it. Much more on love has yet to be learned, and though it certainly exists in healthcare, it is not yet present to the extent it could be. Research such as this, which focuses on illuminating the concept of love, could prove beneficial to healthcare and humanity. A new model was developed to illustrate the concept of love in healthcare for providers situated in the heartfelt work of caring. This model is important for understanding because love can neither be separated from the health needs of a patient nor the nurses who provide care. As a fundamental element of wellbeing, love and self-love facilitate the healing process; the ultimate goal of medical care. Education is key to its application and recommendations for heart-centered practice are included in this article.