Generation of explanatory model of human caring in registered nurses

Davenport, Deborah O'Gorman
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The idea of caring is central to nursing. The purpose of this grounded theory study was to qualitatively explore caring attributes or characteristics of registered nurses (RNs) and how these caring characteristics are thought to evolve. The goal of this study was to generate an explanatory model of human caring in RNs.

The study participants were recruited from one healthcare facility, a 394-bed, for-profit acute care facility in a southwestern city with a metropolitan population of over 200,000. Nineteen RNs were included in the study using a purposive, theoretical sampling technique. The study participants ranged in age from 23–61, with a range of 1 ½ to 24 years nursing practice. Interviews were conducted using a semi-structured interview guide and were audio taped and transcribed verbatim.

Data were analyzed using constant comparative analysis. Axial coding was used to explore relationships among the conceptual themes, which yielded four separate, yet interrelated domains of caring characteristics (e.g., knowing, connectedness, intent, and integrity). Within these domains, 23 categories of caring characteristics emerged. The domain of intent was identified as the central domain, representing one's core capacity for caring. Within this domain is found many of the properties that comprise one's character including, a positive attitude, positive intent, kindness, compassion, concern, consideration, desire and willingness, perceived obligation or duty to serve God and others, hope, and trust. The domain of integrity includes the categories of honesty, respect, humility, and courage. The domain of connectedness includes the categories of connecting with others, temporality, and open-mindedness. The domain of knowing specifically addresses nurse knowing as it relates to caring and subsumes the categories of experiential knowing, self-knowing, relational knowing, and shared knowing.

Centered upon one's intent to act in caring ways, the theoretical model is representative of the nurse caring characteristics explored. Possessing a positive intent to be caring directly affects and is affected by one's integrity, a feeling of connectedness, and one's knowing of the other. In conclusion, this study provides illumination of an area of nurse caring that has not yet been fully explicated.

Nursing, Qualitative research, Comparative analysis, Emotions