As I have suggested elsewhere (Alavi 2005) we, in nursing, have not written about ‘caring’ very well. Our attitude to it has been variously that we have beaten our breasts because we do not do it well enough, or that we see it in terms of ‘carative factors’ (Watson 1988), which enables us to ‘tick boxes’ to say we have done it. Much of this, I think, comes from the way we were trained to be ‘empathetic’: to focus on or be available to the client, to the exclusion of our own mental health. Morse et al.’s paper, ‘Beyond empathy: expanding expressions of caring’, when it appeared in JAN in 1992 was expressing something refreshingly new – that we have a larger repertoire for communicating with clients than empathy alone, and that empathy might be an undesirable attribute in the clinical setting.
Alavi, C 2006, '30th Anniversary commentary on Morse JM, Bottorff, J Anderson, G, O'Brien B & Solberg S (1992) Beyond empathy: expanding expressions of caring. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 17, 809-821', Journal of Advanced Nursing, vol. 53, no. 1, pp. 89-90.
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