Embodied Ethics: A Phenomenology of the Neonatal Nurse's Touch

Gillian Lemermeyer
This phenomenological study explores the lived experience of the nurse's touch in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Touch is deeply embedded within NICU nursing, sometimes so taken-for-granted as to seem invisible, but implied in nearly every nursing gesture and pursuit. Inserting an intravenous line, bathing a baby, assessing vital signs, holding and rocking a baby to sleep, and more; all are rich with the immediacy and intimacy of bodily contact and dependent on sensitive, capable
more » ... res of touch. The manifold meanings of human touch may also go unrecognized, obscured within the tasks and work of nursing. Interpreting touch as Although I was the one at the keyboard, this dissertation is the result of many good hands and hearts along the way. I am foremost grateful to the nurses who volunteered to participate in this study, for their interest and their time, sharing thoughtful stories that drew me back into the NICU. And for the babies who entered this study through the nurses' accounts, everything here is for them. I am grateful to my co-supervisors: Dr. Wendy Austin, for being steadfastly in my corner since my undergraduate degree and for her inspiring scholarship; and Dr. Cathy Adams, for opening worlds to me, both phenomenological and technological. I am changed by knowing her and learning from her.
doi:10.7939/r3-e5jp-6e83 fatcat:pzmejcqqsrbltce2x3rqf4a2xe