Nurses have used the intervention of presence for centuries, but only recently has attention been given to defining and describing this intervention that conveys much of the caring aspect of nursing. Presence is more than a nurse’s being with a patient physically. Researchers have found that patients recognize and value nurses who are present with their whole beings and are attuned to patients’ needs and concerns. When critical care nurses use the intervention of presence, findings have shown that they make a connection with the patient that can lead to earlier identification of patients’ problems. Further, critical care nurses can use presence in interactions with patients to avoid the perception by patients and their families that the nurse is emotionally distant or is there just to do a job. By incorporating presence as an integral part of all patient interactions, critical care nurses have the privilege of transforming a technical, potentially impersonal setting into a humane, healing place.
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Complementary and Alternative Therapies| February 01 2000
Use of Presence in the Critical Care Unit
Mariah Snyder, RN, PhD, FAAN;
From the School of Nursing, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.
Reprint requests to Dr. Mariah Snyder, School of Nursing, University of Minnesota, 6-101 Weaver-Densford Hall, 308 Harvard Street S. E., Minneapolis, MN 55455-0342.
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Cheryl L. Brandt, RN, MSN, CS;
AACN Adv Crit Care (2000) 11 (1): 27–33.
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Mariah Snyder, Cheryl L. Brandt, Yueh-hsia Tseng; Use of Presence in the Critical Care Unit. AACN Adv Crit Care 1 February 2000; 11 (1): 27–33. doi:
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