Shifting sands of vulnerability
Authors: Heaslip, V.
Start date: 7 September 2010
Nurses work with “vulnerable people” during their careers. People can experience vulnerability whenever their health or usual function is compromised and increases when they enter unfamiliar surroundings, situations or relationships. Vulnerability is therefore a key concept for professional practice, yet it is a complex and elusive phenomenon that is ill defined within the literature. The prevailing discourse relates to the identification of traditional vulnerable groups, due to increased risk of premature morbidity and mortality. There are, however difficulties associated with incorrectly labelling individuals as vulnerable or conversely not recognising vulnerability. A contrasting discourse identifies all human beings as vulnerable, as part of their humanity.
This paper will present a theoretical exploration of the shifting sands of vulnerability utilising the humanising framework proposed by Todres et al (2009), in order to illuminate the complexities of the phenomenon of vulnerability. This paper is presented as part of a PhD exploring, "The Lived Experience of Vulnerability". Understanding healthcare vulnerability from a Gypsy/Travelling community: using a holistic heath care perspective. “
Reference Todres, L., Galvin, K., Holloway, I., 2009. The humanisation of Healthcare: A Value Framework for Qualitative research. International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Wellbeing. (Awaiting publication).