Caring in Nursing

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The statement:”In an age where the scientific and the technological are weighed heavily (and often favorably) in human progress, the need to emphasize the humanizing ingredient of compassion . . . is urgent” (Roach 1987, p. 61 You are required to adopt a position on this statement (agree or disagree/take a side) and construct an argument to support your case. Your argument must be supported with evidence from a variety of relevant information sources

This assignment asks Bachelor of Nursing students to adopt a position on a statement - an abbreviated quote from Roach (1987), constructing an argument supported by evidence from a variety of relevant information sources. This assignment will review literature pertaining to theoretical perspectives of nursing, arguing that while our society may be less caring, Registered Nurses, even though now university education are not less caring, than those who were hospital trained. They are however much more technically competent.

Shields (1991) reviewing Sister M. Simone Roach’s book "The human act of caring. A blueprint for the health professions" (1987) suggests that the central theme of Roach’s book is an analysis of how the practise of health care professionals and especially nurses has been affected by today’s society which places less value in caring by the individual as well as by the society. What Roach (1995) calls the ‘Postmodern Age’, Kellehear (2007) refers to as the ‘Cosmopolitan Age’, that is today’s society, where people live, and function in an internationalised world, with a global set of economic and social arrangements. Where “old social divisions and ranks characteristic of past societies such as location, gender, religion, ethnicity” and social class blend into each other (Kellehear, p.7).

The concept of the “five C's” being compassion, competence, confidence, conscience, and, commitment developed as an attempt to answer the question "what is a nurse doing when they care?" (Roach, 1987, p.58). Sister Roach, a nurse educator, infused with a Christian ethic, being a member of the Roman Catholic religious order – the Sisters of St. Martha Antigonish, of Nova Scotia, Canada, defined compassion as:

Compassion may be defined as a way of living born
out of an awareness of one's relationship to all living
creatures; engendering a response of participation in
the experience of another; a sensitivity to the pain and
brokenness of the other; a quality of presence which
allows one to share with and make room for the other.

It is useful to state the complete quotation, from which the assignment question is taken (Roach, 1987, p.61): That compassion is an attribute of caring hardly
needs defending. In an age where the scientific and the
technological are weighed heavily (and often favorably)
in human progress, the need to emphasize the human-
izing ingredient of compassion and the need “for the
cold and impersonal world of science and technology
to be infused by things of the spirit”[5] is urgent.

The italicised text was edited from the statement that students were asked to take a position on for this assignment. The statement in full takes on more of a Christian theological outlook, placing health care, both nursing and medical in a humanised context, attempting to remove it from the Cartesian clockwork image of the human body as a machine (Kriel 2003). This appears to be context with which the population at large in Australia considers nursing. The etymology of the word ‘compassion’ is Latin, from ‘com’ meaning together and ‘pati’ – meaning to suffer. Central to the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council’s [ANMC] National Competency Standards for the Registered Nurse (ANMC 2005a), the Code of Professional Conduct for Nurses in Australia (ANMC 2005b) and the Queensland Nursing Council [QNC] Professional Standards Policy is the need for compassion and the delivery of professional nursing care. However nowhere within these three...
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