Technological Intimacy in Haemodialysis Nursing


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Abstract

Technology plays a major role in nursing care. Among the challenges for nurses is being able to maintain a patient focus while surrounded by highly complex technology. The provision of high quality nursing care in technologically complex environments is particularly challenging when nurses develop relationships with their patients over an extended period of time. In these environments the potential for intimate relationships can increase. This potential for intimacy is evident in the haemodialysis context where dialysis technology, nurses and patients interface. As nurses and patients can spend up to 20 hours per week together intimate relationships can develop. This paper identifies the challenges these dialysis nurses face and introduces the concept of technological intimacy. Technological intimacy can be defined as physical touching and self disclosure, associated with closeness and knowing, that is undertaken in the full view of others in a healthcare environment dominated by technology. In the haemodialysis context technological intimacy has been scarcely acknowledged and rarely researched. Further research will assist in guiding haemodialysis nursing practice.

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