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healing, health, hermeneutic, myth, nursing theory, unitary, unitary-transformative paradigm



  1. Smith, Marlaine C. RN, PhD


The purposes of this article are to examine the epistemic nature of myth and its relationship to nursing ontology, practice, and knowledge development, and to interpret the myth of the hero journey as it relates to the meaning of health and healing within the unitary-transformative paradigm. A discussion of the qualities of myth as a path toward understanding is followed by an analysis of the relationship of myth to nursing's ontology within the unitary-transformative paradigm. Joseph Campbell's depiction of the myth of the hero journey is elaborated and related to literature on health and healing. Reflections on possible implications for nursing practice and knowledge development are shared. The mythic hero journey calls for a particular way of being a nurse. Nurse as guide, sojourner, and midwife are offered as metaphors for this way of being.