This book gives a face to nursing care and portrays personal suffering, courage and endurance to pain. This is a great comparison of a nurse patient relationship and opens our eyes as nurses that the patient is not a disease, acute illness or infection, but in fact, a real person. People come to the hospital for help; they put their pride aside and look to us to “save them”. I feel this book gives an excellent depiction of self-preservation and what key role it plays in overcoming whatever life throws at us. Being a nurse, we do look to other medical professionals to learn and gain insight from during our careers. Frankl demonstrates self-sacrifice and how we do put ourselves on the line every day, by choice, because we genuinely care about others well-being. Frankl (1984) describes an instance when asked to volunteer medical services at another concentration camp containing typhus patients, “Against the urgent advice of my friends (and despite the fact that almost none of my colleagues offered their services), I decided to volunteer, I knew that in a working party I would die in a short time. But if I had to die there might at least be some sense in my death. I thought that it would doubtless be more to the purpose to try and help my comrades as a doctor than to vegetate or finally lose my life as the unproductive laborer that I was then (p. 49). Sometimes we forget just how much human sacrifice we voluntarily give up to help others because it just comes naturally to us. Through helping others we help ourselves. It provides us purpose and is part of our human search for meaning. Frankl emphasizes the importance of overcoming tragedy and how people have the ability to find meaning and purpose in whatever they may encounter. Frankl explains that by utilizing self-preservation a person can put any situation in perspective and overcome circumstances, no matter how horrific they may be (Frankl, 1984).
(2.) Can you see the ideas of this book being used in nursing practice? If so, how would this be implemented in your nursing practice.
Frankl was a psychiatrist by profession and showed how he was able to mentally, and in turn, physically overcome the horrific nature of the concentration camp. He also lifted his fellow prisoner’s spirits; provided care where he saw needed, all while helping them through this experience. This demonstrates the care and compassion that is a key element in nursing practice. I feel that this needs to be implemented in our nursing practice in order for a patient to heal and it’s something I incorporate each and every day. It may be a small trivial aspect to most, but Frankl demonstrated what huge impact it made in survival. If showing care to your fellow prisoners such as Frankl did could help someone overcome the abuse in a concentration camp, I certainly believe implementing this in my nursing practice is a valuable commodity. Another idea Frankl portrays is “Logotherapy”. He explains when a person is confronted with the meaning of life this provides a motive for self-awareness and gives the person strength to overcome weakness. Having a meaning is a primary motivational force in a person’s life (Frankl, 1984). It keeps a person looking to the future and working towards that goal. With that drive, patients can learn to overcome even the most difficult of obstacles. When we think something is not possible, or out of our reach, we sometimes lose hope and passion for life. This distress can lower our immune system. Frankl (1984) stated, “The meager pleasures of camp life provided a kind of negative happiness-“freedom from suffering” as Schopenhauer put it-and even that in a relative way only. Real positive pleasures, even small ones were very few (p. 47).
I believe positive thinking is also an important aspect in recovery. By thinking something is possible and will eventually get better or heal, we have already won half the