Caring has been advocated as integral to nursing ethics, and much theorizing has suggested that it may be a partial or the entire foundation for nursing's ethic Yet few research studies have examined the practical expression of caring in the clinical setting The author describes the concept of comfort as an aspect of care experienced by long-term care nurses in their daily practice related to moral choices The design of the study was descriptive and qualitative The sample consisted of 15 registered nurses who were participants in the author's previous study of moral certainty and uncertainty Their responses to interview questions during the previous study suggested the topic for the present study A semi-structured interview consisting of eight neutral open-ended questions was conducted with each participant The findings suggest that long-term-care nurses function in the roles of mediator and communicator In these roles, they try to meet a mental ideal of ‘good nursing practice’ They use multiple criteria on which to base their moral choices including comfort, their own and their residents The author examines the providing and feeling of comfort as related to the nurses' moral choices
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Based on data gathered from registered nurses at two hospitals, this research examined the extent to which empathy variables contributed to nursing stress and occupational commitment. The empathy variables examined were emotional contagion (i.e. sharing the emotions of patients), empathic concern (i.e. being concerned for patients) and communicative effectiveness (i.e. effectively communicating with patients and their families). Nursing stress was explored through the variables of depersonalization, reduced personal accomplishment and emotional exhaustion. Multiple regression analyses revealed that the combination of the three emotional communication variables explained significant proportions of the variance in all three of the stress variables, as well as occupational commitment. The analyses further revealed that a lack of empathic concern and poor communicative responsiveness accounted for significant proportions of the variance in depersonalization. Lack of empathic concern, poor communicative responsiveness and high emotional contagion significantly contributed to reduced personal accomplishment. Emotional contagion explained a significant proportion of the variance in emotional exhaustion. Emotional contagion also significantly reduced occupational commitment. The findings are discussed in terms of nursing education and administration.
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