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Keywords

emergency, ethnography, humanism, narrative, nursing practice, phenomenology, vulnerability

 

Authors

  1. Malone, Ruth E. RN, PhD

Abstract

Two notions of vulnerability dominate in the nursing literature. In one model, vulnerability is equated with susceptibility to particular harmful agents, conditions, or events at particular times and is considered something to be avoided or resisted. Another view regards vulnerability as the ever-present, common condition of all sentient beings and a condition of nurses' access to understanding patients' experiences. This article uses data from an ethnographic study conducted in two hospital emergency departments to illustrate tensions between these two stances toward vulnerability as they are reflected in emergency nurses' narratives.