Self-Transcendence Theory and the Theory of Chronic Sorrow

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Self-TranscendenceTheory and the Theory of Chronic Sorrow

Self-TranscendenceTheory and the Theory of Chronic Sorrow

ACCN Essential I recognizes the importance of a firm foundation inliberal education in exposing a learner to broad issues anddisciplines. Such education enhances cultural competence, includingan understanding of human cultures and spiritual beliefs [ CITATION AAC08 l 1033 ].The integration of knowledge from the behavioral, natural, andbiological sciences also promotes an understanding of the self andothers[ CITATION AAC08 l 1033 ].A knowledge of the above diverse issues would improve the capacity ofan advanced practice nurse to engage diverse individuals confrontedwith chronic sorrow, and help them gain broader perspectives thatwould enhance care provision.

Advancedpractice nurses can apply the self-transcendence theory in patientsconfronting end-of-life issues, by introducing practices such asmeditation, self-reflection, religious expression, visualization,counseling, as well as journaling, with the aim of expanding anindividual’s boundaries [ CITATION McE11 l 1033 ].Suchactivities could enhance patient self-awareness and well-being. Thekey precursor to chronic sorrow is significant loss. Some of theinterventions that advanced practice nurses could use to demonstrateempathy include providing a listening ear, recognizing feelings,offering reassurance, and appreciating uniqueness of individuals [ CITATION McE11 l 1033 ].

Astudy explored the perception of hope in individuals with Amyotrophiclateral sclerosis (ALS), by identifying, categorizing, and ratingthemes of hope (Fanos etal.,2008). Hope categories included social support, hope for a cure,search for information, limiting impacts, adaptation to changingabilities, self-transcendence, as well as living in the moment (Fanoset al.,2008). Respondents identified with certain categories of hope andfocused on a range of themes, from focusing on the self to intenselybeing concerned about others.

Accordingto the above study, patients relied on various mechanisms to sustainhope in the face of chronic illness. Advanced practice nursesparticipating in palliative care could play a critical role byencouraging discussions regarding the numerous forms of hopefulnessin individuals with chronic illnesses.


AACN. (2008). The Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice. Washington, DC: American Associaton of Colleges of Nursing.

Fanos, J. H., Gelinas, D. F., Foster, R. S., Postone, N., &amp Miller, R. (2008). Hope in a palliative care: from narcissism to self-transcendence in amyottophic lateral sclerosis. Journal of palliative medicine, 11(3), 470-475.

McEwen, M., &amp Wills, E. (2011). Overview of selected middle range nursing theories. In Theoretical basis for nursing (pp. 220-247).