Journal List > J Nurs Acad Soc > v.23(3) > 1085379

Lee: Love: A Concept Analysis for Nursing Theory Development


Since nursing has come of age both as a profession and as a scholarly discipline, there has been increasing concern with delineating its theory base. In 1978 Chinn and Jacobs asserted that "the development of theory is the most crucial task facing nursing today." The basic building blocks of theories are concepts. Concept formation begins in infancy, for concepts help us to categorize and organize our environmental stimuli. Concepts help us to identify-how our experiences are similar or equivalent by categorizing all the things that are alike about them. Concepts can be primitive, concrete, or abstract. Concept Analysis is a strategy that examines the attributes or characteristics of a concept. It is a formal, linguistic exercise to determine those defining attributes. It encourages communication. Its basic purpose is to distinguish between the defining and irrelevant attributes of a concept similarities. It is a process of determining the differences between concepts and it is useful for several reasons. It is an excellent way to begin examining information in preparation for research or theory construction and results in an operational definition and a list of defining attributes and antecedents. It provides the scientist with an excellent beginning for a new tool, is an excellent way of evaluating an old one and is useful in evaluating existing instruments. The steps of concept analysis are: 1. Select a concept, 2. Determine the aims or purposes of the analy sis, 3. Identify all uses of the concept that you can discover, 4. Determine the defining attributes, 5. Construct a model case, 6. Construct borderline, related, contrary, invented, and illegitimate cases, 7. Identify antecedents and consequences, 8. Define empirical referents. In this paper, the concept selected for analysis was Love. The concept of love is of great interest to nursing because loving care is considered vital to the nursing care of patients. The aims of the concept analysis of love were to clarify the meaning of love, to develop an operational definition for it and to contribute to existing nursing theory. Love influences the quality of life which is the goal of nursing according to Parse in her Human Becoming Theory. Lived experiences are the entities for study in Parse's Research Methodology. Human caring, human understanding, and human becoming are the most important issues in lived experiences. In this research, dictionaries and literature from nursing philosophy and other human disciplines were used to identify the concept of love. As many different instances of the concept as could be found were examinned. The model case was a real life example of the use of the concept. Next borderline, related, invented, and contrary cases were constructed for the purpose of providing examples of "not the concept" and for promoting further understanding of the concept being discussed. The defining attributes of the concept of love were con cern. responsibility, respect, understanding and dedication. Love was defined as showing concern and understanding, relating with mutual respect and dedicating oneself responsibly to others. Concept analysis is a highly creative activity and may add signficant new information to a given area of interest. It is a strategy for developing a concept based on obervation or other forms of empirical evidence. The purpose of concept analysis is to generate new ideas. It provides a method of examining data for new insights that contribute to theoretical development. This concept analysis suggests that a nurse's love for patients is shown in the process of giving oneself in mutual relationships of responsibility and respect and in continuously providing understanding and quality human care for them.

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