Hermeneutics as an approach to inform spiritual care-giving practices at end of life

Date

2012-06-14

Authors

Mayer, Debra

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Abstract

Hermeneutics, the art of interpretation, has traditionally been an integral part of nursing research; however, little attention has been devoted to nursing’s pivotal role as interpreter in the context of nursing practice. Guided by a hermeneutic philosophy, nursing practice is informed through engaging in a dialogic or conversational journey, a way of being. The aim of my project is to illuminate the possibility of introducing a modified four-fold hermeneutical model of interpretation as an approach to inform spiritual care-giving nursing practices at end of life (Charalambous, 2010). According to this model, a patient is perceived as a literary text and the process of interpretation unfolds with: (a) the object of interpretation, (b) the mode of interpretation, (c) the praxis of life-affecting response flowing from the interpretation, and (d) the change of life-world brought about through the interpretation (Charalambous, 2010). This model is illustrated through the presentation of a practice exemplar.

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Keywords

end of life, care-giving practice, spirituality, hermeneutics

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