Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 8-10-1962


The descriptive case study was used to develop a method which could be used to identify the understandings and skills needed by the nurse to give intelligent physical care to the patient with a neurological condition being treated by means of induced hypothermia. From a survey of the related literature and from observation of selected patients, a checklist was developed for recording of the data. Sources for supplementary data were unstructured interviews with the physicians and nurses caring for the patient and the patient’s medical records. Data were collected over an eight week period. During this time, three patients were admitted to the hospital, who met requirements for the study. From the data collected, the nurse's understandings were inferred by means of documentary frequency from the related literature. These ninety-two inferences were submitted to a resident physician in neurosurgery, and eighty-four were validated. Fifty-seven nurse's skills were then inferred on the basis of the understandings, the signs and symptoms presented, the action taken by the nursing staff in response to a sign or symptom, and related literature. These skills were all validated by a jury of five experts in the area of medical-surgical nursing. A final listing of the understandings and skills was then formulated. It was concluded, due to the limited number of patients available for study, that the findings cannot be generalized. The method developed did prove to be one by which the nurse's understandings and skills could be identified.