The essence of nurse caring during labor and delivery




Luegenbiehl, Debra Lynn

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The problem of the study was to determine the essence of nurse caring during labor and delivery. The works of Mayeroff, Leininger, and Paterson and Zderad were examined in order to focus the study specifically toward nurse caring. Mayeroff explored the general concept of caring. Leininger emphasized the importance of the study and practice of caring to the nursing profession. Paterson and Zderad described existential aspects of nursing, and stressed the necessity of studying nursing phenomena in situational contexts.

Recalled labor and delivery experiences were analyzed phenomenologically for the essence of nurse caring. Recently delivered multiparous mothers, their birth attendants, and registered nurses working in labor and delivery were interviewed. There were three participants from each group.

Interviews followed guidelines designed to elicit descriptions of nurse caring and were semi-structured in format. Interviews were tape-recorded and transcribed. Data were reduced through a search for patterns, and analyzed using the guidelines of Colaizzi and Miles and Huberman. Group narrative descriptions and an overall description of the essence of nurse caring in labor and delivery were written. The findings were discussed with participants, and all of the participants stated that their perception of nurse caring had been described. Broadly, nurse caring in labor and delivery was perceived when the nurse was believed to have acted (1) competently from a background of specific and general knowledge; and, (2) in a manner which was helpful, reassuring, and supportive to mothers. Although the essence of nurse caring was agreed upon by the groups, the emphasis in interpretation within the concept was different for the groups. Birth attendants emphasized knowledge. Mothers emphasized comfort and coping measures. Nurses emphasized both of the above aspects, and also established further insights into nurse caring as a part of the larger work environment.

Results of this study indicate that care and caring cannot be separated. The nursing profession can study abstract concepts and utilize conceptual knowledge in the process of student education, patient care planning, and in hospital staff planning.



Nurse care, Labor, Delivery