Explorations in Family Nursing

Explorations in Family Nursing

Explorations in Family Nursing

Explorations in Family Nursing


Explorations in Family Nursingexamines a systemic approach to care which can be applied both in hospital and community settings. Working collaboratively with the family, the nurse is able to strengthen the level of care available to the patient and promote the health and well-being of the whole family.

The book examines the theory underpinning family nursing and establishes the principles, including how to make assessments, plan interventions and evaluate progress. A team of experienced contributors demonstrate how widely family nursing strategies can be applied in practice and cover issues including:

• children with chronic and terminal illnesses

• children with learning disabilities

• adolescents

• frail elderly people

• patients in intensive care

Suitable for practitioners and for students from Diploma to post-graduate level , Explorations in Family Nursingmakes a timely and relevant contribution to the development of nursing practice.


When Dorothy Whyte asked me to write a foreword to this book she knew that her work with sufferers from cystic fibrosis had aroused in me an absorbing interest in family therapy. I do not think that she was aware of the extent of my ignorance. I am profoundly grateful to her for the opportunity she has given me to read the manuscript ahead of other nurses and for the wealth of knowledge this book has opened up for me. I am sure that many readers will share my excitement as chapter after chapter opens up a new vista onto what should be the proper function of the nurse.

I knew that every patient’s suffering causes distress to his or her nearest and dearest, I knew that every catastrophe has a devastating effect on every member of the victim’s social network. I knew of traumatic stress disorder and the beneficial effect of counselling. But in my thoughts the business of helping the family was separate from that of nursing the sufferer who was designated as the patient.

Of course I also knew that children who are ill respond positively to the presence of the mother and that sick children’s nurses take the parents into account when they plan the child’s care. I knew that community nurses sometimes increase their effectiveness if they offer help to the informal carers, even at times nurse the patient indirectly by teaching and supporting the carers. My psychiatric experience had also taught me that there are times when the person who presents symptoms to the doctor or nurse is not the real patient, but rather the person who vicariously draws attention to the need for help. I knew that people in trouble may benefit from therapeutic groups where all parties attempt to sort out their problems with each other openly, in each others’ and a therapist’s presence. All this was, in my thinking, associated with the concept of family therapy, of interest to nurses but marginal to their core professional function.

Reading this book has taught me otherwise. All these concerns and many others are or should be central to the delivery of quality nursing care. Family nursing, not family therapy is our business. Our thinking must increasingly replace the concept of the patient by that of the family. Increasingly we must perceive ourselves as family nurses and develop our ability to plan care for

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