Nursing as Love: A Hermeneutical Phenomenological Study of the Creative Thought Within Nursing

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Marlienne Goldin, RN, BSN, MPA
Doctoral Dissertation in Caring Science Research
Nursing as Love: A Hermeneutical Phenomenological Study of the Creative Thought Within Nursing
March 15, 2017

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Abstract

Is love entwined with Caring Science? Watson (1990) and Leininger (1991) both describe caring as the essence of nursing. When nursing became a trained profession it was based on the duty to care (Fagin, 1975). If caring is the duty of nursing, is caring enough? Can nursing flourish without love? Caritas is the Latin word for love. Is Caritas Nursing love demonstrated? What is love in nursing? How is it shown? Is it giving freely to another? Is it placing other before self, without expecting reciprocity? Is nurses’ love the modern day agape? These are some of the questions that launched this research study. I have observed nurses in practice for the past 35 years, caring for complete strangers, performing acts of caring in the most intimate way. I do not believe it is financial reward, there are plenty of jobs that pay far better. In fact most people would not be able to provide care in the way nurses care, regardless of the financial reward. What is it that “drives” nurses? I believe it is a love of humanity. Compassion, duty to act, caring, tenderness, and love, are all qualities associated with loving care that nurses provide. Love is a seldom-used word in nursing schools, and in nursing practice. From my perspective there isn’t an adequate term for the love exhibited daily by nurses for their patients. Rather than shrink from love terminology it’s time nurses embraced and celebrated it. This dissertation is about love, its attributes, and its connection to nursing.