JOURNALOF HOLISTICNURSING /March2001Brushetal./FORGIVENESS
Barbara L. Brush, R.N.C., Ph.D., F.A.A.N.
Eileen M. McGee, R.N., M.S.N.
Director of Health Care Services, Pine Street Inn
Bonnie Cavanagh, R.N.C., M.S.N.
Winchester Women’s Health Care P.C.
Mary Woodward, R.N.C., M.S.N.
St. Joseph Parish Ministry
This article provides an operational definition of forgiveness as a first step in the sys-tematic analysis of the concept. Using the method described by Walker and Avant(1995), the authors identify the attributes and characteristics of forgiveness and itstheoreticalandpracticalimplicationsfornursing.Samplecasesfromclinicalpracticehelpillustratetheconceptfurther.Furthernursingresearchneedstotestthetheoreti-cal relationships between forgiveness and nursing practice outcomes.
of forgiveness has been advocatedwithin the context of religious practice and one’s relationship withGod (Blumenthal, 1998; Drabkin, 1993; Jenson, 1993; Mul-ler-Fahrenholz,1998).Morerecently,theconnectionbetweenforgive-ness and individuals’ spiritual and mental well-being has been thesubjectofmuchinterestandresearch,especiallyamongfamilythera-pists,clinicalandsocialpsychologists,ethicists,theologians,andphi-losophers (DiBlasio & Proctor, 1993; Walrond-Skinner, 1998).Therehasbeenlimitedresearchintheareaofforgivenessbynursesand little discussion of its implications for nursing practice. Nursingarticlesandtextsthatmentionforgivenessoftendosowithinalargerreligious, often fundamentalist Christian context (O’Brien, 1999; Ott,
JOURNAL OF HOLISTIC NURSING, Vol. 19 No. 1, March 2001 27-41© 2001 American Holistic Nurses’ Association