Middle Range Theory of Attentively Embracing Story

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  • Topic: Nursing, Pain, Advanced practice nurse
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  • Published : March 2, 2013
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Running Head: Middle Range Theory

Middle Range Theory of Attentively Embracing Story
Carol Jones and Sherry Lookofsky
York College of Pennsylvania

Middle Range Theory of Attentively Embracing Story
Then when the others had gone, each man about his business,
Robin turned to the youth. “Now, lad,” said he,
“tell us thy troubles, and speak freely.
A flow of words doth ever ease the heart of sorrows;
it is like opening the waste weir when the mill dam is overfull. Come, sit thou here beside me and speak at thine ease.”
-Howard Pyle, “The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood” (1911) (Pennebaker, 1990, p. vii)
The above poem reflects an offer for an intentional dialogue by Robin Hood to a troubled youth. The offer takes place after others have gone away, and the two are alone. Robin is the encouraging nurse, setting the stage for a dyadic conversation. He is offering to be an attentive listener to the youth’s embracing story. Robin warmly supports the youth towards creative ease by encouraging the youth to speak freely. Speaking freely is like opening the flood gates of a dam and allowing the waters of sorrow to pour out until the water calms. The purpose or meaning of the intentional dialogue is to ease the youth’s sorrowful heart and to promote health and human development. Robin again encourages the youth by offering a seat beside him. He is offering his presence and is willing to wait for the youth to start telling his story. Putting emotionally upsetting experiences into words can affect a person’s thoughts, feelings, and physical health. Mary Jane Smith and Patricia Liehr are theorists who believe in the healing power of story-sharing. The importance of story for promoting health and human development created the core and the fundamental concept of the theory of attentively embracing story. The main ideas of the theory are nurse, client (storyteller), health challenge, and story. Attentively embracing story is a nurse-client process encompassing the concepts of intentional dialogue, connecting with self-in-relation, and creating ease in the midst of a health challenge (Smith & Liehr, 2003). In this relationship the nurse gathers a story about a health situation that matters to the person. There are two processes of intentional dialogue: true presence and querying emergence. (Smith & Liehr, 2003). The nonjudgmental nurse pays close attention to the unique life experiences of the storyteller’s pain, confusion, joy, broken relationships, satisfactions, or suffering. The nurse does not become involved, but does ask for clarification to keep the story flowing from beginning to middle to end. The nurse tries to understand the story from the storyteller’s perspective and actively listens as long as the storyteller desires to tell the story. Only the storyteller knows the details of the never-ending story. Connecting with self-in-relation is composed of personal history and reflective awareness (Smith & Liehr, 2003). Personal history is the story of the storyteller’s past life experiences and events as told by the person from the person’s perspective. The storyteller becomes aware of their strengths and weaknesses and, with the nurse’s guidance, strives to find meaning in past experiences, thoughts, and feelings. Reflective awareness produces meaning that is applied to present challenges and future hopes and dreams. Meaning establishes ease. Creating ease is energizing. Two dimensions of creating ease are re-membering disjointed story moments and flow in the midst of anchoring (Smith & Liehr, 2003). The storyteller re-members story moments by connecting events in time through realization, acceptance, and understanding as the health story comes together. Patterns surface as the storyteller explains the meaning of important experiences. The storyteller re-members the health story in the presence of a caring nurse. Meaning is...
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