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Nurses’ perceptions of nursing presence and the relationship between nursing presence and moral sensitivity in nurses working with people with dementia in residential care
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University College Cork
Aim: The aim of this study was to measure nursing presence among nurses caring for people with dementia in residential care settings, and to investigate the relationship between nursing presence and moral sensitivity. Background: Nursing presence is a core relational skill in nursing and holds many benefits for nurses and their patients. Moral sensitivity is defined as how one recognises the moral elements of a situation, and how one’s moral or ethical decision making may impact on an individual. Methods: A descriptive, cross sectional quantitative methodology was used with a sample of 150 registered nurses. The Presence of Nursing Scale for Registered Nurses was used to investigate nursing presence, and the Moral Sensitivity Questionnaire for moral sensitivity. Results: Findings from the study demonstrated that participants agreed with the majority of elements of nursing presence, (mean 76.97, SD= 7.51). A mean score of 36.22 was evidence of a well developed level of moral sensitivity in participants. Nurses who perceived themselves to be highly present to their patients also scored highest on certain elements of moral sensitivity such as moral strength. Nursing presence was also found to be more developed in those participants that rated themselves as having higher levels of expertise based on Benner’s (1984) definitions. Older nurses also scored higher on nursing presence. There was a high level of agreement that factors such as lack of time (n=133), and heavy workload influenced nursing presence. Nurses, who were older and had longer clinical experience, were shown to have greater moral strength. There were differences in elements of moral sensitivity between groups of nurses who ranked themselves according to Benner’s (1984) competence framework with higher scores evident in the more expert groups. Conclusion: Overall, this study showed that participants had a well developed level of nursing presence, and certain elements of moral sensitivity are positively related to nursing presence. Nursing presence appears to be linked to the level of expertise of the nurse but factors such as time and workload do influence nursing presence.
Nursing presence , Moral sensitivity
Linehan, J. 2014. Nurses’ perceptions of nursing presence and the relationship between nursing presence and moral sensitivity in nurses working with people with dementia in residential care. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.