UB Structure of the Theory of

ASSIGMENT #1:

“Mrs. Walsh, a woman in her 70s, was in critical condition after repeat coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery. Her family lived nearby when Mrs. Walsh had her first CABG surgery. They had moved out of town but returned to our institution, where the first surgery had been performed successfully. Mrs. Walsh remained critically ill and unstable for several weeks before her death. Her family was very anxious because of Mrs. Walsh’s unstable and deteriorating condition, and a family member was always with her 24 hours a day for the first few weeks.

The nurse became involved with this family while Mrs. Walsh was still in surgery, because family members were very anxious that the procedure was taking longer than it had the first time and made repeated calls to the critical care unit to ask about the patient. The nurse met with the family and offered to go into the operating room to talk with the cardiac surgeon to better inform the family of their mother’s status.

One of the helpful things the nurse did to assist this family was to establish a consistent group of nurses to work with Mrs. Walsh, so that family members could establish trust and feel more confident about the care their mother was receiving. This eventually enabled family members to leave the hospital for intervals to get some rest. The nurse related that this was a family whose members were affluent, educated, and well informed, and that they came in prepared with lists of questions. A consistent group of nurses who were familiar with Mrs. Walsh’s particular situation helped both family members and nurses to be more satisfied and less anxious. The family developed a close relationship with the three nurses who consistently cared for Mrs. Walsh and shared with them details about Mrs. Walsh and her life.

The nurse related that there was a tradition in this particular critical care unit not to involve family members in care. She broke that tradition when she responded to the son’s and the daughter’s helpless feelings by teaching them some simple things that they could do for their mother. They learned to give some basic care, such as bathing her. The nurse acknowledged that involving family members in direct patient care with a critically ill patient is complex and requires knowledge and sensitivity. She believes that a developmental process is involved when nurses learn to work with families.

She noted that after a nurse has lots of experience and feels very comfortable with highly technical skills, it becomes okay for family members to be in the room when care is provided. She pointed out that direct observation by anxious family members can be disconcerting to those who are insecure with their skills when family members ask things like, “Why are you doing this? Nurse ‘So and So’ does it differently.” She commented that nurses learn to be flexible and to reset priorities. They should be able to let some things wait that do not need to be done right away to give the family some time with the patient. One of the things that the nurse did to coordinate care was to meet with the family to see what times worked best for them; then she posted family time on the patient’s activity schedule outside her cubicle to communicate the plan to others involved in Mrs. Walsh’s care.

When Mrs. Walsh died, the son and daughter wanted to participate in preparing her body. This had never been done in this unit, but after checking to see that there was no policy forbidding it, the nurse invited them to participate. They turned down the lights, closed the doors, and put music on; the nurse, the patient’s daughter, and the patient’s son all cried together while they prepared Mrs. Walsh to be taken to the morgue. The nurse took care of all intravenous lines and tubes while the children bathed her. The nurse provided evidence of how finely tuned her skill of involvement was with this family when she explained that she felt uncomfortable at first because she thought that the son and daughter should be sharing this time alone with their mother. Then she realized that they really wanted her to be there with them. This situation taught her that families of critically ill patients need care as well. The nurse explained that this was a paradigm case that motivated her to move into a CNS role, with expansion of her sphere of influence from her patients during her shift to other shifts, other patients and their families, and other disciplines”

Critical thinking activities

1. Discuss the clinical narrative provided here using the unfolding case study format to promote situated learning of clinical reasoning (Benner, Hooper-Kyriakidis, & Stannard, 2011).

2. Regarding the various aspects of the case as they unfold over time, consider questions that encourage thinking, increase understanding, and promote dialogue, such as: What are your concerns in this situation? What aspects stand out as salient? What would you say to the family at given points in time? How would you respond to your nursing colleagues who may question your inclusion of the family in care?

3. Using Benner’s approach, describe the five levels of competency and identify the characteristic intentions and meanings inherent at each level of practice.

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ASSIGMENT#2

Mrs. Smith was a 73-year-old widow who lived alone with no significant social support. She had been suffering from emphysema for several years and had had frequent hospitalizations for respiratory problems. On the last hospital admission, her pneumonia quickly progressed to organ failure. Death appeared to be imminent, and she went in and out of consciousness, alone in her hospital room. The medical-surgical nursing staff and the nurse manager focused on making Mrs. Smith’s end-of-life period as comfortable as possible. Upon consultation with the vice president for nursing, the nurse manager and the unit staff nurses decided against moving Mrs. Smith to the palliative care unit, although considered more economical, because of the need to protect and nurture her because she was already experiencing signs and symptoms of the dying process. Nurses were prompted by an article they read on human caring as the “language of nursing practice” (Turkel, Ray, & Kornblatt, 2012) in their weekly caring practice meetings.

    • The nurse manager reorganized patient assignments. She felt that the newly assigned clinical nurse leader who was working between both the medical and surgical units could provide direct nurse caring and coordination at the point of care (Sherman, 2012). Over the next few hours, the clinical nurse leader and a staff member who had volunteered her assistance provided personal care for Mrs. Smith. The clinical nurse leader asked the nurse manager whether there was a possibility that Mrs. Smith had any close friends who could “be there” for her in her final moments. One friend was discovered and came to say goodbye to Mrs. Smith. With help from her team, the clinical nurse leader turned, bathed, and suctioned Mrs. Smith. She spoke quietly, prayed, and sang hymns softly in Mrs. Smith’s room, creating a peaceful environment that expressed compassion and a deep sense of caring for her. The nurse manager and nursing unit staff were calmed and their “hearts awakened” by the personal caring that the clinical nurse leader and the volunteer nurse provided. Mrs. Smith died with caring persons at her bedside, and all members of the unit staff felt comforted that she had not died alone.

      Davidson, Ray, and Turkel (2011) note that caring is complex, and caring science includes the art of practice, “an aesthetic which illuminates the beauty of the dynamic nurse-patient relationship, that makes possible authentic spiritual-ethical choices for transformation—healing, health, well-being, and a peaceful death” (p. xxiv). As the clinical nurse leader and the nursing staff in this situation engaged in caring practice that focused on the well-being of the patient, they simultaneously created a caring-healing environment that contributed to the well-being of the whole—the emotional atmosphere of the unit, the ability of the clinical nurse leader and staff nurses to practice caringly and competently, and the quality of care the staff were able to provide to other patients. The bureaucratic nature of the hospital included leadership and management systems that conferred power, authority, and control to the nurse manager, the clinical nurse leader, and the nursing staff in partnership with the vice president for nursing. The actions of the nursing administration, clinical nurse leader, and staff reflected values and beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors about the nursing care they would provide, how they would use technology, and how they would deal with human relationships. The ethical and spiritual choice making of the whole staff and the way they communicated their values both reflected and created a caring community in the workplace culture of the hospital unit.

      Critical thinking activities

      Based on this case study, consider the following questions.

      1. What caring behaviors prompted the nurse manager to assign the clinical nurse leader to engage in direct caring for Mrs. Smith? Describe the clinical nurse leader role established by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing in 2004.
      2. What issues (ethical, spiritual, legal, social-cultural, economic, and physical) from the structure of the theory of bureaucratic caring influenced this situation? Discuss end-of-life issues in relation to the theory.
      3. How did the nurse manager balance these issues? What considerations went into her decision making? Discuss the role and the value of the clinical nurse leader on nursing units. What is the difference between the nurse manager and the clinical nurse leader in terms of caring practice in complex hospital care settings? How does a clinical nurse leader fit into the theory of bureaucratic caring for implementation of a caring practice?
      4. What interrelationships are evident between persons in this environment—that is, how were the vice president for nursing, nurse manager, clinical nurse leader, staff, and patient connected in this situation? Compare and contrast the traditional nursing process with Turkel, Ray, and Kornblatt’s (2012) language of caring practice within the theory of bureaucratic caring.

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