Summary

Justification: Nurses, by maintaining direct and permanent contact with patients, should be placed in the position of facilitators of the hospitalization process, through comprehensive assistance that includes, in addition to instrumental care, emotional support.

Objective: To know the vision of the patient admitted to the medical clinic of a general hospital about the emotional support provided by the nursing team.

Method: Descriptive and exploratory study with a qualitative approach. The subjects were ten patients admitted to the medical clinic of a general hospital. The data were collected through a semi-structured, recorded, and transcribed interview.

Results: From the thematic analysis, the feelings generated by hospitalization and the emotional support provided by the nursing team were evidenced.

Conclusion: Emotional support constitutes a great challenge for nursing since hospitals often lack physical and human resources to offer adequate and comprehensive care.

Introduction

Emotional support can be understood as the ability to perceive the imperceptible, which requires a high level of sensitivity from the nurse to interpret the patient’s verbal and non-verbal manifestations.1 Proper understanding of these manifestations makes it possible to identify how the patient perceives the disease, the process of hospitalization, and treatment, in addition to providing security.2

To develop quality emotional support, it is necessary for health professionals to be good listeners, attentive, and willing to touch and comfort patients. However, the absence of a clear definition of what emotional support is reflected in healthcare practice, making care essentially instrumental to the detriment of the psychosocial and emotional aspects that permeate the nurse-patient relationship.3,4

Emotional support must be understood as a form of care, whose main objective is to offer comfort, attention, and well-being to the patient. Therefore, the care provided must be comprehensive, considering the totality and complexity of the human being, encompassing both the physical and psychological dimensions5 and associating instrumental care (medication, curative, hygiene, among others) with expressive care, which encompasses the aspect psychosocial, relationship and emotional support.6,7

Taking into account that the promotion of emotional support has achieved positive results in the recovery process of patients, instrumental and expressive care must go hand in hand and complement each other, 3 in this way reducing or even healing the physical and psychological suffering caused by the process illness and hospitalization.5

During the hospitalization period, the patient, in addition to suffering changes and ruptures in their relationships and their daily lives, feels fear, insecurity, anxiety and expectations that are capable of interfering in the adaptation process and in their recovery.8 In this In context, nurses, by maintaining direct and permanent contact with patients, should be placed in the position of facilitators of the hospitalization process, through comprehensive care that includes, in addition to instrumental care, emotional support.

In view of the above, the objective of the present study was to know the vision of the patient admitted to the medical clinic of a general hospital regarding the emotional support offered by the nursing team.

Method

It is a descriptive and exploratory study with a qualitative approach to the information, whose setting was a medical clinic in a general hospital in the city of Pelotas, the Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. The research subjects were selected by lottery and identified through the attribution of fictitious names.

The ethical precepts of conducting research with human beings were respected, through obtaining the free and informed consent of the participants, as well as the opinion favorable to the execution of the study by the Research Ethics Committee of da Faculty of Nursing and Obstetrics of the Federal University of Pelotas, registered under Nº. 77/2010.

The information was collected in the period from June to August 2010, through a recorded semi-structured interview.

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