Chapter 9

TECHNOLOGICAL UTILITY : HOW IT SOMETIMES INTERFERES WITH CARING PRACTICE

Kathleen Stephany and Piotr Majkowski

Abstract

The current discussion demonstrates how technological utility sometimes interferes with the moral sense of care and what to do about it. Caring as technology is viewed as the meaning of caring in relationship to technology. The virtual community, machines that support life, computers and robotics are included in this definition. It is pointed out that in modern health practices the nurturing aspects of caring for the ill or aged is increasingly viewed by some institutional bodies as less important than other more mechanistic aspects of service. Modern advances of science have also somewhat blurred the boundaries of when life begins and when it ends. When it comes to caring for premature babies, what was portrayed as most disturbing for nurses is the overuse of technology to try and save a life that cannot be saved. Another example of carrying out treatment that is destined to fail occurs when we use invasive procedures to save a life when death is imminent, like performing cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on someone suffering from the end stages of a terminal diagnosis. No matter how many technological advances are developed, the challenge to the profession of nursing is not to lose its caring capacity. At the end of the chapter mindful listening is taught as a means for nurses to refocus mental energy back onto their clients. A narrative based on a real life case is shared by a distraught family member who felt left in the dark about the imminent death of her loved one.

Total Pages: 131-144 (14)

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