Narrative and Palliative Care Team Identity Formation

Denise Hess

Abstract


Palliative care is whole person care that attends to the physical, psychosocial, and spiritual needs of persons with a serious or life-limiting illness. This care is provided by a team of clinicians from several disciplines including physicians, nurses, social workers, and chaplains. The palliative care team functions as a dynamic system whose ability to provide quality care is dependent upon the ability of the team members to form and maintain an ongoing collaborative alliance. This alliance requires that team members maintain dual commitments to both the care receivers and to their fellow team members. Just as persons with illness express the human propensity toward meaning making in the face of suffering, so palliative care teams thrive when they are supported in reflective processes that enhance their ability to find meaning in their work. Creation of and attention to team narratives and their role in team identity formation can enhance team members’ flourishing by placing team identity in the context of a larger story. Narratives of rescuing and fixing foster a sense of control and expertise while narratives of containing and healing nurture attention to mindful presence and human-to-human encounter.

Keywords


medicine,narrative; palliative care; patient care team; self-care

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References


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