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Co-constructing conversations about suicide: the Meeting Space Framework

10 February 2022
Volume 31 · Issue 3


This article draws on research conducted for the author's doctoral thesis. It presents the development of the Meeting Space Framework to address what is needed to engage in meaningful conversations about suicide, from the perspective of student nurses. An interpretive methodology of constructivist grounded theory was used, underpinned by the theoretical perspective of symbolic interactionism. The core category of Meeting Spaces resulted; engaging in meaningful conversations about suicide is co-created in illuminating space within the context of a human pivotal encounter (positive) as opposed to an unceremonious pivotal encounter (negative). A certain kind of space is required to support engagement in meaningful conversations about suicide. It requires humanness and an intention and ability to see the whole person beyond the limiting word of ‘suicide’.

This article draws on research conducted for the author's doctoral thesis completed in 2019, which found that meaningful conversations about suicide are co-created in illuminating space in what is considered a human pivotal encounter (Rebair, 2019). In order to maximise a pivotal encounter, the co-construction of a meeting space and complex areas of negotiation is required. Relational exploration of the meaning of suicide is required in order to engage in conversations and to address personal vulnerabilities and fears.

From this research, the Meeting Space Framework was derived. It is a unique framework designed from the evidence to support students/nurses to engage in meaningful conversations about suicide. It adds to the available knowledge of suicide intervention and nursing care as it supports the student nurse to address personal fears and vulnerabilities and maximise meaningful engagement with an intention of meeting the whole person. The Meeting Space Framework can be used as a reflective tool to facilitate conversations about suicide in nurse education and in clinical practice and as part of lifelong learning. The core of the model is interhuman relations and the co-construction of meaning in meeting spaces.

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