The Conceptual Structure of Emotional Support in HIV Care

McEwan, Laura (2009) The Conceptual Structure of Emotional Support in HIV Care. [Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)] (Unpublished)

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This study was conducted to clarify and conceptualise the term ‘emotional support’ in HIV care delivery. Increasingly in recent years the focus in nursing has been on holistic care, in which emotional support is an integral phenomenon. In HIV care there are many issues related to chronic illness and HIV related stigma which give rise to complex emotional needs that need to be addressed by nurses. It is acknowledged in the literature that emotional support is an elusive concept which has limited definitions, little evidence to distinguish from other concepts and difficulties in measurement.

The Hybrid Model of Concept Development was applied to develop a conceptual structure for emotional support in HIV. The theoretical phase produced a working definition for formal emotional support that implied the concept was a function consisting of five emotionally supportive behaviours with the common intention of increasing wellbeing and reducing the impact of HIV related stigma.

The fieldwork phase involved participant-observation based on reflection undertaken with a CNS, on an acute hospital ward specializing in infectious diseases and in a drop-in centre at a hospice. Cases of the concept were identified in practice and new definitional elements were identified.

The final analytical phase reformulated a new definition based on integration of the theoretical and fieldwork phases. Formal emotional support in HIV was found to be an interactive process based upon the establishment of a nurse-patient relationship in which both parties act as autonomous individuals who share their respective expertise. Employment of formal expertise was associated with engaging in appropriate types of emotional support and facilitating informal support where possible.

On completion of the aims of the study, implications for future practice and research were proposed including the impact of the definition upon the role of the CNS, importance of clinical supervision in avoiding burnout, the potential for clearer guidelines in future practice and the need for further research regarding emotional support in general practice.

Item Type: Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 20 Aug 2009 09:24
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2018 02:37

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