The Concept of Suffering

Topics: Palliative care, Suffering, Nursing Pages: 3 (587 words) Published: October 12, 2008
Despite many advances in modern medicine, many illnesses continue to have no cure (Calman, Cherny, Doyle & Hanks, 2004; Chiu & Mok, 2004). Chronic, progressive, and incurable illnesses are a major cause of disability, distress, suffering, and ultimately death in today’s society (Adunsky & Aminoff, 2005; Calman et. al, 2004; Chiu & Mok, 2004; Rydahl-Hansen, 2005). The nurse-patient relationship is viewed as central to the practice of nursing; additionally, the nurses’ role is considered vital in the care of a patient who is suffering (Arman & Rehnsfedlt, 2006; Cowles & Rodgers, 1997). Spiritual care is believed to be one such component of a nurse’s role as this, in many situations, can instil the patients’ life with purpose, meaning and hope (Arman & Rehnsfedlt, 2006; Rydahl-Hansen, 2005).

It can be therefore said that the concept of suffering has a direct relationship to individuals who experience chronic illness, disability or dying (Cann & Chochinov, 2005). Through information as outlined above, it is evident that suffering can be alleviated through the relationship with the patient’s nurse and their caring relationship (Cann & Chochinov, 2005). Moreover, the case study which focussed on Harry gives insight into the holistic role of a nurse when caring for a patient who is suffering physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually.


Abbatiello, G., Breitbart, W., Clarke, B., Goulet, J., Kless-Siegel, S., Kornblith, A., O'Mahony, S., & Payne, R. (2005). Desire for hastened death, cancer pain and depression: report of a longitudinal observational study. Journal of Pain Symptom Management. 29(5), 446-57.

Adunsky, A., & Aminoff, B. Z. (2005). Dying dementia patients: Too much suffering, too little palliation. American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, 22, 344-348.

Arman, M., & Rehnsfedlt, A. (2006). The presence of love in ethical caring. Nursing Forum, 41(1), 4-12.

Arman, M., & Rehnsfedlt, A....
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