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How People Forgive: A Systematic Review of Nurse-Authored Qualitative Research

Ann Gentry Recine, Louis Recine, Tenzin Paldon
Journal of Holistic Nursing: Official Journal of the American Holistic Nurses' Association 2019 February 27, : 898010119828080

PURPOSE: The aim of this systematic review of qualitative forgiveness studies by nurse authors is to contribute to the body of holistic nursing knowledge by discovering answers to the following research questions: (a) where/how does a person get the power to forgive? and (b) what are the people who forgive like?

METHOD: We conducted a systematic search of the English language, peer-reviewed literature for nurse-authored, primary qualitative research that answered our research questions. A total of 188 potential studies were found, and 11 studies met the inclusion criteria.

RESULTS: Study participants used interpersonal, intrapersonal, and transpersonal sources of power to forgive, including prayer, meditation, and support from family, friends, and nurses. The findings also revealed the cognitive, emotional, and spiritual traits of forgiving people, including being faith oriented, empathetic, and understanding the meaning of forgiveness as letting go of negative emotions. The findings confirm activities listed under "Forgiveness Facilitation" (2018) in Nursing Interventions Classification (NIC) and suggest additions.

CONCLUSION: This literature review adds to nursing knowledge by synthesizing the findings of the review in a way that provides guidance to nurses to help facilitate forgiveness with patients who want that.


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