Patricia Benner: Metaparadigm in Nursing

Patricia Benner Metaparadigms in NursingThe 4 Metaparadigms in Nursing as defined by Patricia Benner:

Patricia Benner described nursing as an “enabling condition of connection and concern” (Marriner-Tomey, 1989, p192) which shows a high level of emotional involvement in the nurse-client relationship. She viewed nursing practice as the care and study of the lived experience of health, illness, and disease and the relationships among these three elements.

Benner stated that a “self-interpreting being, that is, the person does not come into the world predefined but gets defined in the course of living a life. A person also has… an effortless and non-reflective understanding of the self in the world. The person is viewed as a participant in common meanings.” (Tomey, 2002 p173)

Benner believed that there are significant aspects that make up a person. She had conceptualized the major aspects of understanding that the person must deal as:

  1. The role of the situation
  2. The role of the body.
  3. The role of personal concerns.
  4. The role of temporarility.

Patricia Benner focused “on the lived experience of being healthy and ill.” She defined health as what can be assessed, while well-being is the human experience of health or wholeness. Well-being and being ill are recognized as different ways of being in the world. Health is described as not just the absence of disease and illness. Also, a person may have a disease and not experience illness because illness is the human experience of loss or dysfunction, whereas disease is what can be assessed at the physical level.

Instead of using the term “environment”, Benner used the term “situation”, because it suggests a social environment with social definition and meaning. She used the phenomenological terms of being situated and situated meaning, which are defined by the person’s engaged interaction, interpretation an understanding of the situation.


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