Pain is a physical suffering or discomfort caused by illness or injury (Sire, 2009). In addition, pain can also be mental or emotional suffering which is sadness caused by an emotional or mental problem (Sire, 2009). In a hospital setting, it is well accepted that a patient's self-report of pain is the most accurate measure of pain (Ayasrah, 2016). "In the absence of self-report of pain, observational measurements can be evaluated as alternative approaches for pain assessment" (Ayasrah, 2016).
Pain has a direct impact on a person's quality of life. For example, I once worked with a patient recovering from a car accident where her husband passed away. Although she was recovering physically, she still had mental suffering from the loss of her husband. If I had ignored her symptoms of mental suffering, the pain she was experiencing could have resulted in a negative outcome. This paper will discuss the meaning of pain and suffering in Nihilism and Existentialism and how to provide proper care for them during this time of pain. In order to provide comfort for the patient with either worldview, nurses need to understand these worldviews and be able to provide care that is congruent with their belief.
James W. Sire (2009) explains Nihilism as "a denial of any philosophy or worldview – a denial of the possibility of knowledge, a denial that anything is valuable." Nihilist's deny the existence of God and believe nothing in this world has meaning, and everything is just there (Sire, 2009). They believe human beings are conscious machines without the ability to affect their own destiny and with no purpose or significance (Sire, 2009). The Nihilistic view possesses many psychological problems because it denies what humans are called for – meaning, value, significance, dignity, and worth.
Unlike Nihilists, who believe the human life does not have a meaning at all, Existentialists be