Academic journal article Creative Nursing

Creating Presence

Academic journal article Creative Nursing

Creating Presence

Article excerpt

What does it mean to be truly present? How does true presence begin? How does it proceed? How can it be recognized? How can we foster it in ourselves and others? How can we examine it? In addition, what elements must we create, in our own lives and in the systems in which we work, which will then comprise acts and experiences of presence?

Each of the articles in this issue of Creative Nursing speaks to one or more of these questions. In my conversation with managing editor Marty Lewis-Hunstiger, I advocate for clarity-of self, of role, and of systems-as an essential element in creating environments to support care that is relationship-based instead of merely task-based. The articles and essays that follow move through these levels of complexity, from self to role to system.

In the realm of the individual, Elaine Bloniasz proposes using our time-honored nursing processes of assessment, planning, implementing, evaluating, and reflecting to care for ourselves, so that we can be strengthened to care for others. Michael Trout describes the process of attunement between infant and parent that has a significant impact on individuals' responses to the experience of illness and on their capacity to regulate their own inner states, a capacity that caregivers who are truly present can foster.

The connection between self-clarity and role clarity is explored by Gary Saltus, who has helped interdisciplinary groups reach the highest level of team functioning, which he calls interresponsive connection, through intentionality in relating to one another as individuals with awareness of their own values, unique as well as shared. Nursing professors Jennifer Demma and Hans de Ruiter ask, "How can college graduate nursing students who are not just driven to perform tasks well, but who are also able to be with those who are suffering?" They state that "for nurses to be fully present with their patients, the cultural norm of multitasking and the emphasis on doing must be reexamined within the context of patient care." Rebecca Otten and Tiffany Chen discuss the effect of a change of leadership on the functioning of a nursing unit; a student nurse's real-time observations of this process indicate that long after the "old" manager had gone, her presence was a factor in the work group's dynamics and in the "new" manager's ability to lead. …

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