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Professional Caring in the intersection between system and lifeworld

Av: Bugge Signe Williamsen | Publisert: 31.05.2016 14:19:37

Invitation to Ph.D. course (5 ECTS) - Professional Caring in the intersection between system and lifeworld

An elective research course in the research training programme at the Ph.D. programme at Molde and Volda University college.  

Syllabus 2016: is available at www.himolde.no

Course level: Ph.D. course

Course code: DRHS906

Course time: September 5th-7th and December 6th-7th, 2016

Course campus: Molde 

Course leader: Professor Solfrid Vatne

Entry requirements: Master's degree (or the equivalent). Participants enrolled as a Ph.D. student at HiM, HVO, MIUN or a relevant Ph.D. programme have priority.

Content: Caring in the health social services is performed in close relationships between the patients/users and the health professionals. The frames of professional caring are likewise usually public institutions, where the systems' goal-rationality prevails, which can contribute to a caring crisis. Inside definite frames, such a crisis can be understood as the system's colonization of the life-world. The focus is on research and theory that might shed light on caring both at the system and individual level. In this way, the course will ensure both a macro and micro perspective on caring.

How the caring services are modeled at the system or societal level, constitute the frames of caring in the communication between the individual professional and user, often characterized by the term caring relationships. Different ideologies and values form the basis for caring relationships. The health and social professions can place emphasis on different caring values, which vary according to their professional background, e.g., feminist, humanistic, health and social professional perspectives. Tensions can appear both between the diverse professions and between superior ideologies in the society/values and professional values (rationality of caring versus instrumental rationality).

In this course, the diversity of caring ideologies and theories will be the focus at both the professional level and that of the society. Research on professional caring will be illuminated and criticized.

The course will be taught in English and Norwegian at Molde University College

Learning outcomes: It is expected that this topic shall make the candidates capable of understanding the foundations for professional caring in the intersection between system and lifeworld. Further, the candidates shall have insight into the mechanisms caused by the structural conditions and moral caring practice.

Exam: Group assignment, Marks: Pass/Failed

Elective Ph.D. Course: Professional Caring in the intersection between system and lifeworld

This course is taught over a period of 5 days, separated into two sessions (3+2 days) and is first offered Fall 2016:

  • First session:         September 5th, 6th and 7th
  • Second session:    December 6th and 7th

Course Program

First session- September 5th -7th

This part of the course is organized as lectures about the main topics of the course in addition to student teamwork.  

Day 1 – 10.00 – 16.30:

Theme 1 - Communicative rationality

10.00 – 13.       Professor Erik Oddvar Eriksen, professor and senterleder v/ ARENA –

Senter for Europaforskning

13- 13.30: Lunch

Theme 2 - Theories of caring and caregiving

            Professor Kit Chesla, UCSF, California, School of Nursing


  • Habermas, Jürgen Ad NOTAM Gyldendal, Oslo 1999:
    • : «Det sivile samfunn og rettsstaten», p 65-78 i Habermas: Kraften i de bedre argumenter.
    • «Handlinger, talehandlinger, språklig formidlet samhandling og livsverden», p 137-171
  • Eriksen, EO: Fra strategisk til kommunikativ ledelse

Gordon, S., P. Benner and N. Noddings. (Eds.) (1996). Caregiving: Readings in knowledge, practice, ethics and politics.  Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.  

  • Chapter 2.          Nell Noddings.  The cared for.
  • Chapter 3.          Patricia Benner & Suzanne Gordon.  Caring Practice
  • Chapter 5.          Alicia Carse.  Facing up to moral perils.
  • Chapter 10.        Nell Noddings.  The caring professional. (education as an example)

Day 2- 10.15 – 15.15:

Theme 2 - Theories of caring and caregiving

10.15 - 11.15: Professor Eva Gjengedal, HiMolde, UiB

11.15 -12.15: Lunch

Theme 3 - Rationality of caring

12.15 – 15.15: Professor Emeritus: Kari Wærness, UiB


  • Kari Martinsen: Care and Vulnerability (2005): Akribe
  • Christensen, K. (2013). Disability, Independence and Care (DIC): A cross national study of cash-for-care in the UK and Norway. In J. Brannen, L. Hantrais and D. Filipović-Carter, Databank of International Social Research Methods Case Studies, ESRC National Centre for Research Methods, Southampton University, http://www.restore.ac.uk/ISResMeth/.
  • Christensen, K. (2008): Social Capital in Public Home Care Services, pp. 249-271 in Wrede, Henriksson, Høst, Johansson & Dybbroe (eds.) Care Work in Crisis. Reclaiming the Nordic Ethos of Care. Malmö: Studentlitteratur
  • Wærness, K. Dialogue on Caring, University of Bergen: Centre for Women's and Gender Research.
  • Wærness, K. (1984): "Women's culture and the care crisis in Scandinavian countries" in Women on the move, Paris: UNESCO, s. 271‑282

Day 3- 1015-16:

Theme 4 - Concrete examples of documented "breakdown of care" – in the health system

10.15 - 12.00: Professor Solfrid Vatne, HiMolde

12.00 - 13.00: Lunch

13.00 – 16.00: Professor Kit Chesla, UCSF, California, School of Nursing


    • Tove Pettersen: Conceptions of Care. Altruism, Feminism, and mature Care (2012). Hypatia vol. 27, no 2. Hypatia Inc.
  • Peter, Elizabeth & Joan Liaschenko (2013). Moral distress: Reexamined a feminist interpretation of nurses' identities, relationships and responsibilities. Bioethical Inquiry, 10: 337-345.
  • Musto, L.C., Rodney, P. A. & Vanderheide, R. (2015). Toward interventions to address moral distress: Navigating structure and agency.  Nurs Ethics 22(1) 91-102.
  • Jameton, Andrew (2013).  A reflection on moral distress in nursing together with a current application of the concept.  Bioethical Inquiry, 10, 297-308.
  • Aiken, L. et al. (2014) Nurse staffing and education and hospital mortality in 9 European countries: a retrospective observational study. Lancet; 383: 1824–30. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(13)62631-8.

    Please note:  two full journal issues are devoted to moral distress.  This is for your own extended reading.
  • Bioethical Inquiry (2013), Volume 10.
  • Nursing Ethics (2015), Vol 22, No. 1.

Second session: December 6th-7th

Day 1- 1015-16: This session is organized around the students' presentation of their work with their group-assignment between the two sessions. Each group provides a one-hour oral presentation.  One half-hour is allotted for discussion. (For more details see Assignment description).

Day 2- 1015-15: Each student should prepare a discussion, about how this course might fit into or might be applied to their own PhD requirements. This session will be a group consultation with the course participants and core faculty. 

Evaluation of the course.

Professional caring in the intersection between system and lifeworld.

Assignment Description.

Students will work in groups of 4-5 to prepare a detailed presentation regarding a specific, current problem that arises at the intersection of the healthcare system and the professional's efforts to address the patients' or users' lifeworld concerns. Please consider dilemmas or problems that arise because of new or recent health care policy changes, social welfare policy changes, funding requirements, new or changed political or professional attitudes that constrain the health care professional.  Also acceptable would be a new policy or set of procedures that has been required at a hospital, hospital unit or community setting that creates complexity for professionals attempting to care for users from a lifeworld perspective.  Actual, current, practical problems, rather than theoretical, hypothetical problems are to be the focus of this assignment. 

The presentation should include:

1.        A thorough description of the problematic situation.  Legislative or professional background factors that led to the change in system-level action, monitoring, reporting, or funding of the professional care should be laid out. Be as detailed as possible to give the audience the benefit of understanding the professional, legislative or other regulatory changes and how it has affected practice.

2.       Analyze the problematic situation from a philosophic or sociologic perspective drawing on one of the theories presented in the course 

3.       Analyze the problematic situation from one theoretical lifeworld caring perspectives (for example, Noddings, Benner).  Use the concepts or constructs employed by these theorists for analyzing the situation, and note how each theory illuminates certain aspects of the situation and ignores others.  Attempt to choose the work of one theorist that is particularly relevant for both understanding the situation, and for producing practical and/or theoretical solutions.

4.       Review and critique research on professional action in similar situations.  Depending upon the richness of the available research, do a comprehensive or selected review of literature on approximately 2- 5 previous research projects that have explored or articulated a similar problematic situation. Be certain to not only describe the research, but how this past research informs your analysis of the current problematic situation.

5.       Propose potential solutions to the problematic situation, drawing on the theories and research you have presented.  Here, you are encouraged to be creative, but realistic.  For example, proposing a change in recently enacted  legislation that is just now being implemented in health or social systems is not likely realistic.  However, suggesting professional actions that might be employed at the local or organizational level to influence how the legislation is enacted in statutes or professional standards may be more practical.

6.       Criteria for evaluating projects:

  • Oral and written presentations are in English
  • A 1 page written brief presentation is provided to the audience that includes:
    • The parameters of the  problem situation
    • The chosen philosophical perspective  and caring theory
    • Clearly described issues at the intersection of institution and lifeworld
    • Possible solutions to the problem
  • All group members must participate in the preparation, and the presentation must
      • have a practical and creative focus
      • conform to the time limits– one hour for each group
Sist oppdatert: 16.06.2016 13:37:29
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