The moments we meet : lived experiences of rapport for nurses, patients and families in palliative care
Thesis DisciplineHealth Sciences
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Health Sciences
Background: Nurses are charged with making rapport and connection with every patient, every shift, every day. Rapport and relationship are considered foundational to palliative nursing with its focus on the patient and their family. Yet the meaning and understanding of this rapport has received little research attention in palliative care.
Aim: To describe the lived experience of rapport and connection with nurses, patients and their families in palliative care.
Methodology: This is a phenomenological study informed by Max van Manen’s approach to research. Twelve in-depth interviews were undertaken with nurses, patients and families. These were transcribed and thematically analysed and interpreted.
Findings: In-depth descriptions of rapport and connection come under two main themes of “Being Connected” and “Being Disconnected”.
Being connected has sub-themes of connection to self and connection to other. Due to the context of Hospice there were also connection to place, and connection to spirit as subthemes. Associated with being connected were feelings of peace, ease, love, comfort and satisfaction. There was a sense that connection makes things easier and rapport was experienced.
While being disconnected has sub-themes of disconnection from self or disconnection from other. When disconnection was present there were feelings like sadness, anger, anxiety, frustration, and dissatisfaction. There was a sense that disconnection makes things uncomfortable and rapport was not experienced.
Key conclusions: Rapport is important and gives meaning and fulfilment in palliative care nursing. There are different levels of care given, related to the quality of connection created. Rapport and connection are linked to holistic care. An absence of rapport is linked to holistic care being unlikely. Rapport is the preferred way of connecting for all participants and a lack of rapport was considered unsafe and uncomfortable. There are implications for practice relating to kindness, safety and belittlement and rethinking rapport. This study has potential implications for all nursing where the nurse-patient-family relationships are a cornerstone of care.