Quarterly scientific journal

A critical analysis of the human body and nursing praxis in Intensive Therapy Unit

Stelios Parissopoulos , Georgia Fouka


The human body does not constitute an independent and comprehensive unit but instead it is a framework through which the individual perceives and receives information from the outside world. Aim: The purpose of this article was the review of literature relating to the concept of body of both the patient and nurse. Material and method: the methodology applied included search of review and research papers via the electronic databases of "SCOPUS" and "JSTOR" that referred to the theoretical approaches of the human body and clinical decision making. The data collection took place in the period of 2010-2011. Results: According to the literature, the hospital converts into a space for observation and knowledge transfer for the discipline of medicine and new methods for controlling individuals and society appear, while the patient is subjected to technologies and practices that gradually bring about the alienation from his own body. At the same time, the science of medicine, through innovative ways of examining the human body, led to a new understanding of life, death and disease. Intensive Therapy Unit (ITU) as a workplace present increasing ethical and communication complexities for nurses, on one hand because the patient's body destabilises through the applications of technology and the medical file, on the other hand because nurses are invited to adopt communication strategies in order to participate to clinical decision making. The traditional roles of healthcare professionals are challenged while they try to provide high-level care in ITU, where the transition from life to death has become quite vague and difficult to discern. Conclusions: The study of the social dimensions in ITU will allow further investigation of the body techniques of nurses, and will highlight ways of strengthening nursing identity and contribution to clinical decision making.

Keywords: Human body, intensive, nursing identity, communication, decision making

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