Mutual vulnerability of patients and nurses contextualised by a broader understanding of the phenomenon

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In this essay I want to share reflections on a broad understanding of vulnerability ending with consideration of the mutual vulnerability of patients and nurses. Patients' vulnerability is a key issue in nursing aiming at protecting the patient towards harm. However, attention has also been paid to the vulnerability of the nurse in recent years. From the perspective of vulnerability in a broader sense, exploration of vulnerability in healthcare shows the importance of the phenomenon and the meaning in relation to the life world. Deduced from literature on vulnerability a definition captures the complexity of objective versus subjective vulnerability. This show how the external judgment of people's vulnerability may influence their internal perception of being vulnerable. In healthcare dependency may increase the patient's vulnerability. This is caused by the need for help from the nurse that makes the patient open for supporting, and thereby also open for harming encounters. The nurse's vulnerability lies in her or his engagement in emphatic caring for the patient. If failing to provide proper care, the nurse's existence as a good nurse is threatened. This is further extended if the patient turns against the nurse. Elaboration on the mutual vulnerability of patients and nurses opens for enhanced understanding of the phenomenon and related phenomena that may reduce harm.

TidsskriftNordisk Sygeplejeforskning
Sider (fra-til)139-144
Antal sider6
StatusUdgivet - 2020

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