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M—Making Meaning 

M—Making Meaning
Chapter:
M—Making Meaning
Author(s):

Elaine Wittenberg

, Joy V. Goldsmith

, Sandra L. Ragan

, and Terri Ann Parnell

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190061326.003.0004
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date: 06 May 2021

Making meaning is predicated on the notion that helping patients and families make meaning of their suffering is a valuable contribution that palliative care nurses can make. The Voice of the Lifeworld of the patient/family is juxtaposed with the Life of Medicine to help the reader recognize the powerful meaning of the life lived outside of the illness. The chapter explores the patient’s quality of life and the spiritual and/or religious life spaces of patients/families. Presence is that quality of being there for the patient or family member, either physically or psychologically, or both, and being nonjudgmental, unscripted, and spontaneous. Thus, a mindful presence means that the nurse is totally dedicated to the circumstances of the here and now, regardless of what has gone before or what is predicted to follow. It is a valuing of “being” over “doing,” in the belief that compassionately bearing witness to a patient’s/family’s suffering may be the greatest gift a provider can offer.

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