Treating hopelessness: nursing strategies from six countries

Clin Nurs Res. 1992 Nov;1(4):347-65. doi: 10.1177/105477389200100405.


Strategies to treat hopelessness were described by 188 critical care nurses from Belgium, Canada, Colombia, England, France, and the United States. Data were collected by an open-ended questionnaire distributed by site coordinators to 50 randomly selected critical care nurses in one or more hospitals in each of the six countries. Data were analyzed using content analysis and data reduction techniques. Prior to collapsing data into hope-inspiring categories, discrete words or phrases to treat hopelessness were enumerated for each country. Interrater consensus was reached on each category label. Hope-inspiring strategies included use of interpersonal self (listening, presence, empathy, directing the interaction away from hopelessness themes); involvement and caring for the family; sharing success stories; use of progress reports; empowerment; and referral to experts (psychologists, clinical nurse specialists). Differences were evident among the countries. Providing physical comfort was emphasized by Belgium, Colombia, and Canada but not mentioned by other countries. Nurses from France used strategies labeled "positive provocation" to keep patients self-sufficient, autonomous, and able to move beyond dwelling on hopelessness.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Americas
  • Critical Care / psychology*
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • England
  • Europe
  • Humans
  • Morale*
  • Nursing Diagnosis
  • Nursing Evaluation Research
  • Transcultural Nursing / methods*