Introduction from the Guest Editors: Perspectives on Fundamental Care

Alison Kitson, Kathleen MacMillan

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The purpose of this focused edition is to engage the Canadian and international nursing leadership community in scholarly dialogue around the fundamentals of care. Bringing an international group of researchers, scholars, educators and leaders in nursing together, our aim is to generate discussion and debate leading to action to improve fundamental care across our healthcare delivery systems.

We start off with a commentary from Alison Kitson (2016) about why fundamental care matters to patients and why nursing needs to think about who does it and how it is done. Brendan McCormack's (2016) presentation of caring as creative and artistic expression, enacted often within a harsh environment, communicates the everyday practical and intellectual challenges in caring. Jack Needleman (2016) builds on this artistry by considering the economic and business imperatives from within health systems that might either enhance or detract from nurses being able to engage on a personal level with their patients.

Kathleen MacMillan (2016) explores the impact of the "hidden curriculum" in nursing undergraduate programs where the value base of fundamental care is often relegated to a level of basic competence far below any "high performing" nurse. She talks about the way student nurses perceive caring activities as belonging to a hierarchy of skills. The more gadgets to be used would seem to impart more importance to the task. And conversely, the more physical contact there is between the nurse and the patient, the lower the perceived level of education required to undertake the task.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-9
Number of pages4
JournalNursing Leadership
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Fundamental care
  • Nursing care
  • Healthcare delivery
  • Nurse and patient


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