Hope is a fundamental human reaction which assists the individual to foster his life forward, with confidence. In healthcare, hope has been incorporated into the concept of caring (Mayeroff, 1971, p.43). While providing care the nurse deals with various aspects of human life such as physical, psychological and spiritual. So, it is essential to explore the term hope and its relevance in nursing practice. The different perspectives of hope and its relation in nursing practice will be identified in this assignment. Moreover, its application in nursing care as well as the possible issues which can come across when it is applied will also be discussed in this piece of work.
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Definitions of hope
In the old axiom, where there’s a hope, there’s a life , illustrates that hope is the inspiring power that assists the people to live in present as well as in future. In every walk of life, the spark of hope will facilitate the person to live with greater satisfaction. The term hope comes from Latin root speare meaning ‘to hope’. When it is used as a noun, it is a feeling that what one desires will happen. But in terms of verb it is a belief in fulfillment (Stephenson, 1991). There are different perceptions of hope which can be found by reviewing the literature. Miller and Happel (2006) stated that hope is a state of being characterized by expectation for a continued good state, an improved state, or a release from a perceived entrapment. Therefore, the concept anticipation may or may not be found on concrete, real world evidence however, it is based on future expectation which is good. Moreover, hopefulness aids an individual to have a sense of psychological well being as well as to find out the purpose and meaning of their life in order to feel their perception which can be achieved in future. Expecting the wellness in future will help the individual to sustain in their life. This expectation could be changed if one has a flexible perception which in turn helps him to adjust with the situation and promoting the capability by improving confidence and psychological wellness which makes a sense of possibility. Hope is also defined as a process, an adventure, a going forward with confidence (Menninger, 1959).In this concept hope is considered as an active process where it deals with person’s enduring feelings, actions and relationship which enhances an individual to look forward with confidence. Stephenson (1991) identified hope as a process of anticipation that involves relationship in thinking, acting, and feeling and directed towards the future fulfillment. In this context, the author states that one’s life is purposeful when he achieves what he desired. This can be attained by active thinking and connecting it to the feelings. Furthermore, by evaluating the concept of hope, there can be four characteristics evolved, primarily life is valued once the individual gives importance to hope, secondly the hope includes various processes like thoughts, emotions, attitudes and its relationship within the individual. Since hope is future focused the third and fourth attributes consist of present and past experiences of the individual, which also can assist him to expect positive outcome. Farran et al. (1995) concluded the main four components of hope as: The hope is an experimental process of accepting human “trials” as a part of being human, while allowing imaginative possibilities to occur. Secondly, it is a spiritual /transcends process related with ones faith. Moreover, hoping is a rational thought process based on one’s condition linked with reality and needed resources (physical, emotional and social).Finally, it is also considered as a relational process in that hope occur between persons and is influenced by other’s hope, presence, communications and strength. From the above point of view, when a person confronts tough periods in his life, he can expect something which can bring change in that period. In another view, the hope has a union with faith. During crisis situation, spirituality support a person something to expect good to happen and also strengthen him to be optimistic in his life. Besides, a balanced thinking process brings the perception of hope to the reality. In addition, hope is also a relational process. For instance, if a terminally ill individual shows hopeful thoughts, that will encourage him and also others to cope up with that situation. The concept of hope is also related to endurance, uncertainty, suffering and acceptance (Morse and Penrod, 1999). Therefore, hope is multidimensional with different perspectives like feeling good, confident, spiritual that can comfort the person during threatening situations of his present life and encourage him to believe in future expectations.
Relevance of hope in nursing practice
Hope and caring are interrelated with each other and are considered as an inevitable part in health care practices since hope aids in providing optimal care to the patient. The Pioneer of nursing, Florence Nightingale who walked with the lamp in dark corridors and spread hope and light to the patient explains obviously that the nurse also can bring light as well as hope to the patient’s life (Hammer e t al.1998). Thus, hope plays its own role in nursing practice. Fostering hope is one of the aspects of the professional nurse’s role (Roberts, 1978, p.28). It states that the nurse and hope have union in providing nursing care. According to Hammer et al. (2009) hope can be instilled through encouragement and caregiver’s positive attitude, confidence and confirmative relationship. A good and positive approach of a care giver can elicit the pain and suffering of patient with incurable disease. A meaningful interpersonal relationship enables the nurse to explore more about patient’s level of understanding and hope in their disease condition. This will further help in giving care to the patient. The feeling of hopefulness can be felt when a nurse or caregiver dispose an appropriate atmosphere (Travelbee, 1997, p.47). According to the above statement, a suitable environment can be provided through effective communication which inspires the patient and his relatives to answer their problem, especially in palliative care (Twcross, 2003, p. 17). In rehabilitation set up, a nurse who cares the patient set a realistic goal with the cooperation of the patient. This will be helpful in restoring and maintaining hope. Setting goal is an integral part of caring for patient with an incurable disease. According to McCann (2002) in a geriatric care, a nurse who spares time to listen to the patient, their explanation, politeness and helping attitudes like just “being there”, expressing honesty and respect towards patient can bring a positive outcome. It means patient need to feel trust, connections and closeness with others. Nurses can achieve this by showing concern towards their patients. Hope also adds quality to life of older people and brings the patient out with a fighting spirit. In addition hope is a fuel that can accelerate the healing process (Visintainer and Seligman, 1983). Nurses have to primarily find out the significance of hope while handling chronically and terminally ill people. Nurse’s role is not only limited to provide care during illness but also to ensure the well being of the patient. Davison and Simpson (2006) concluded that there may arise certain obstacles in the application of hope in nursing. They include information (more, lack, early), fear, caring a child, caring terminally ill and psychiatric patient, lack of professional and administrative force can hinder a nurse to apply concept of hope in nursing practice. First of all, knowledge about the disease process withdraws a patient to cooperate with the treatment. For example, the terminally ill patient may hesitate to take medication because they do not have hope in their life. Secondly, the nurse who lacks the knowledge about the treatment and disease process will not be able to inspire hope to the patient. According to Miller (2007) the medical conditions such as pain, uncontrollable symptoms, and social isolation cannot allow a nurse to give hope to the patient. During this suffering even though nurse provide pain medications or other comfort measures to alleviate discomfort of the patient with incurable illness, nurses cannot be able to inspire hope. This will be another barrier. Furthermore, the patient with psychiatric illness and unrealistic hope is other area of concern. It will be a challenging task for a nurse when those people are taken for futile therapies which increase a person’s suffering (Taylor, 1989, p.26). Moreover, nurses may feel difficulty when the patient is a dying child (Miller, 2007). The lack of sufficient staffing can be another reason where the nurse will not be able to attend to all aspect of care of the patient. So, it is important for a nurse to understand significance of this concept and barrier in the provision of care delivery.
To sum up, the concept of hope has been analysed through common definitions and its characteristics in this assignment. In addition, its significance in nursing practice as well as the possible barriers which can hinder its application in nursing care has been identified in this piece of work. It is evident from the above analysis that hope plays an important role in lives of human being insurmountable obstacles. Knowing the concept hope will be valuable in enhancing the professional capacity of nurses to engage with an individual for whom hope is considered as fragile and recovery is impossible. Besides it also helps a nurse to deliver complete nursing care to the patient.
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