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Maintaining patient hopefulness: A critique

Lipscomb, Martin


Martin Lipscomb


It has been proposed that maintaining patient hopefulness is or should be a central nursing duty, and within the nursing literature the maintenance of patient and family hope is generally presented as an unproblematic 'good thing'. However, here it is argued that hope cannot bear the claims made on its behalf. The concept is variously interpreted and this variation might indicate that hope cannot sustain a real or technical definition. Further, hope may be confused or entangled with teleological assumptions, and this complicates use of the concept in healthcare systems which prize scientific forms of evidence-informed decision-making. As currently understood hope cannot be situated within a sustainable scientific theory and nurses are therefore advised to distance themselves from the more extravagant claims that are made regarding the concept. LIPSCOMB M. Nursing Inquiry 2007; 14: 335 -342 Maintaining patient hopefulness: a critique © 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


Lipscomb, M. (2007). Maintaining patient hopefulness: A critique. Nursing Inquiry, 14(4), 335-342.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Dec 1, 2007
Journal Nursing Inquiry
Print ISSN 1320-7881
Electronic ISSN 1440-1800
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 14
Issue 4
Pages 335-342
Keywords evidence, hope, hopelessness, teleology, theory
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