Embodying Nursing Openheartedness: An Existential Perspective

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Abstract

In this article, the authors attempt to articulate one view of the nature of nursing openheartedness and its central role for guiding caring in complex nursing situations. To do this, vignettes of everyday nursing life situations are used to illustrate the following three essential dimensions that constitute nursing open-heartedness: (a) the infinity of otherness: keeping open the other's difference, (b) embodiment: our shared vulnerable heritage, and (c) practical responsiveness: embracing the value of the objectified gaze and technology. Each of these dimensions is philosophically informed by distinctive insights from the work of Heidegger, Levinas, and Merleau Ponty. Furthermore, guided by Gendlin's contributions regarding the nature of embodied understanding, a writing style that attempts to present the nature of nursing open-heartedness as a possible experience rather than as an abstract theory is employed.

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