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Sensing an atmosphere of ease: a tentative theory of supportive care settings.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing.
2005 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences, ISSN 0283-9318, Vol. 19, no 4, 344-353 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Nightingale saw the art of nursing as providing an environment in which patients were offered the best conditions for nature to act upon them. However, we still have limited research-based understandings of care settings experienced as supportive by patients, significant others and staff. The aim of this study was to construct a theoretical understanding of processes contributing to supportive care settings. The authors used grounded theory design and the constant comparative method to analyse theoretically sampled interview and observational data from three different contexts of care. The tentative theory conceptualizes supportive care settings as sensing an atmosphere of ease, and five categories were recognized: experiencing welcoming; recognizing oneself in the environment; creating and maintaining social relations; experiencing a willingness to serve; and experiencing safety. Having one's expectations of the environment exceeded was a mediating factor in sensing an atmosphere of ease. Sensing an atmosphere of ease facilitated experiences of being able to locate oneself in familiar and safe surroundings; being able to follow one's own rhythm; being seen, acknowledged and cared about; and having possibilities of benefiting from beauty and contacts with others.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2005. Vol. 19, no 4, 344-353 p.
Keyword [en]
Adult, Aged, Aged; 80 and over, Attitude to Health, Empathy, Female, Health Facility Environment, Humans, Interviews as Topic, Male, Middle Aged, Observation, Professional-Patient Relations, Psychological Theory, Sweden
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-6701DOI: 10.1111/j.1471-6712.2005.00356.xPubMedID: 16324058OAI: diva2:146371
Available from: 2008-01-11 Created: 2008-01-11 Last updated: 2009-11-11Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Atmosphere in care settings: Towards a broader understanding of the phenomenon
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Atmosphere in care settings: Towards a broader understanding of the phenomenon
2005 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The overall aim of the study is to understand and describe the phenomenon ‘atmosphere in care settings’ as experienced by patients, significant others and health care staff. The study consists of four papers, each of which illuminates various aspects of the phenomenon. Data consisted of observations and interviews with patients, significant others and staff (n=126) within a hospice, a geriatric, a medical and an oncology setting, and community care settings for older people. Narrative analysis, grounded theory, and phenomenological hermeneutics were used in a triangular fashion to analyse the data.

The findings illuminate the phenomenon ‘atmosphere in care settings’ as being constituted by two interacting and interwoven dimensions: the physical environment and people’s doing and being in the environment. The physical environment is the first dimension, and five aspects were illuminated, namely the physical environment as a symbol; as containing symbols; as influencing interaction; as facilitating a shift of focus from oneself to the environment, and; as containing scents and sounds influencing experiences of at-homeness or alienation. People’s doing and being in the environment is the other dimension, and five aspects were illuminated, namely the experience (or absence of experience) of a welcoming; of seeing and being seen; of a willingness to serve; of a calm pace; and of safety. It was understood that people’s doing and being influences experiences of the physical environment and that the physical environment influences experiences of people’s doing and being. The comprehensive understanding illuminated that the phenomenon is not merely subtle qualities of the place for care, but an active part of care. Both the physical environment and peoples doing and being conveys messages of caring and uncaring. The atmosphere of a care setting can at best support experiences of at-homeness in relation to oneself, others and the surrounding world.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Omvårdnad, 2005. 189 p.
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 941
Nursing, Narrative analysis, Grounded Theory, Phenomenological hermeneutics, Symbols, At-homeness, Environment, Omvårdnad
National Category
Research subject
omvårdnadsforskning med samhällsvetenskaplig inriktning
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-406 (URN)91-7305-807-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2005-02-04, Aulan, Vårdvetarhuset, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 13:00 (English)
Available from: 2005-01-11 Created: 2005-01-11 Last updated: 2009-11-11Bibliographically approved

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