This article presents the first findings of a qualitative empirical study of caregivers' attentiveness in hospital oncology care. It takes a care ethical perspective, in which attentiveness is considered an indispensable element of good care. The data are derived from participant observation at the oncology department of a general hospital in the Netherlands. The analysis shows a descriptive exploratory model of attentiveness, which comprises a coherent set of the clusters perception (A), object finding (B), and space for attentiveness (C). The methodological output of this article is an important one: the presented descriptive model of attentiveness promotes further research into the characteristics and functioning of attentiveness in care. It is a fundamental step towards a grounded theory, as it enables a comparison of different cases prior to thematic analyses. The substantive outcomes of the study offer caregivers a tool for understanding and analyzing care practices from the perspective of attentiveness.


Attentiveness, Attention, Ethics of Care, Oncology, Grounded Theory, Hospital, Empirical Ethics

Author Bio(s)

Klaartje Klaver is writing her dissertation on caregivers'attentiveness in hospital oncology care. She worked as a PhD student at the ethics of care research group, Tilburg University, the Netherlands. She has Master's degrees in Medical Anthropology and in Pedagogical Sciences. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: klaartjeklaver@gmail.com.

Andries Baart is extraordinary professor at Optentia Research Focus Area, North-West University, South Africa. He is the founder of the so-called theory of presence and the (practice orientated) presence-approach.

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