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Storying, fiction and philosophy: turning our attention to the traumatised or damaged nurse
  1. Mark Radcliffe
  1. Correspondence to Dr Mark Radcliffe, Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, Kings College, London SE1 8WA, UK; markacradcliffe{at}


The Francis Report, the result of a UK public inquiry into ongoing mistreatment of patients at a large teaching hospital, revealed deep-rooted flaws in care delivery and professional performance. It led to regulatory review, policy initiatives and public outcry. To this point, it has not led to any extended or focused discussion on the sustenance or well-being of nurses so that we might avoid it happening again. This paper emerges from the writing and publication of a novel called Stranger Than Kindness and a subsequent PhD. The novel explored the themes of damaged or hurt healthcare professionals and their attempts at restoration or in one case, redemption. The paper uses the novel as ‘data’ for an articulation of the emotional world of (some) nurses and imports three theoretical perspectives; McGilchrist's work on the divided brain, Damasio's work on emotion and Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology to support an emerging philosophical position of embodied cognition.

  • Nurse
  • Philosophy

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