UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The nurse's experience of love in healthcare : a fundamental element of health and wellbeing Snook, Sky Elisabeth


Love as a fundamental element of wellbeing is a phenomenon that has been explored throughout history since questions of philosophy began. Only in more recent times has love been explored in the realm of healthcare, though most probably its presence has always been there. Part of everyday life, love’s necessity in wellness, illness, and the field of healthcare is becoming recognized, for in the absence of love, illness, addiction, failure-to-thrive and death are seen. Understanding the experience of love in healthcare, however, is limited particularly from the nurse’s perspective, regardless of the idea that perhaps the profession itself is based on love for humanity. The focus of this research was to increase understanding of love in healthcare from the nurse’s perspective using a qualitative Gadamerian approach and the hermeneutic circle. A Fusion of Horizons between what was previously understood about love and the experiences of six nurse participants was created. Photography and in-depth interviews illuminated love present in healthcare practice, which also turned out to be reflective of love in life. It was discovered that love manifests in forms of being, awareness, action and connection and that one cannot truly understand this love unless they experience it. Much understanding has yet to come, and though love certainly exists in healthcare, it is not yet present to the extent that it could be. Therefore, research like this study which focuses on illuminating the concept of love, could prove beneficial to healthcare and humanity.

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Attribution-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada