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Philosophical Basis of h2cm

Searching for the Middle: Hodges' Model and Selected Works of Michel Serres

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Keywords: Michel Serres, Hodges Model, Health, Career, Philosophy, Care Philosophy, Care Domains, Hermes, Harlequin

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Jones, P. (2006) Philosophical Basis of h2cm: Searching for the Middle: Hodges' Model and Selected Works of Michel Serres

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ABSTRACT: This paper explores the extent to which selected writings of Michel Serres and a health care model created by Brian Hodges in the UK can be combined. The primary objective is to ascertain whether a philosophical basis for the model of care may be found. Lack of philosophical credentials is a serious deficit from a nursing theory and practice perspective. Michel Serres, a French philosopher has published more than twenty books, an oeuvre subject to ongoing debate (Abbas, 2005; Assad, 1999). The volume of Serres' output contrasts markedly with work devoted to Hodges' Health Career - Care Domains - Model (hereafter referred to as h2cm). Placing Hodges and Serres together is not intended to suggest direct equivalence, other than the common themes this author intends to bring to the attention of readers.

Michel Serres photo: Source http://www.ville-agen.fr/

Dodecahedral Earth Map

During the mid 1980s the author discovered a conceptual framework known as Hodges’ model. Subsequent application of the model in health care and health informatics convinces the author that h2cm can reach far beyond local clinical and educational agendas. This potential arises by virtue of the models structure and the four knowledge domains the model claims to encompass. As for any generic framework Hodges’ model can be used to address several issues; policy development, health promotion and education, intercultural matters, communication, research, public involvement, service development and evidence based care plus community informatics and e-government. This list is pragmatic, incomplete and not meant to impress. While successful application of any tool ultimately depends on its users, the model’s scope and the problems of the 21st century make the potential h2cm user base and beneficiaries immense.

Demographics are the dynamic that shapes health and social policy as well as population pyramids. Globalization, inexpensive air travel, superbugs, terrorism and environmental degradation bring home the lesson of just how interconnected, interdependent and vulnerable humanity has become. Commentators report on the digital divide; social exclusion and the political imperative to engage citizens in political processes. Where is the wisdom in the exponential growth in the volume of information produced, to sell it as knowledge, as intelligence, transactions completed in nanoseconds? Amid frequent talk of the need for new tools, I believe h2cm can contribute to this call.

Reading Serres' translated texts the author of this paper was immediately struck by the similarity of Serres' concerns to problems that not only led to h2cm's creation, but ideas that can readily be expressed and disseminated using Hodges' model. This expressive power arises from h2cm's structure; the conceptual space claimed by its four key concepts – individual, group, humanistic and mechanistic. This construct leads to a device with generic and specific capacities. For a cognitive tool work seems the wrong term, but captures the potential of the model to cross-curricula and disciplinary boundaries a facility of ever-increasing relevance over recent decades (Jones, 2004; 2005).

Integrated Care

To begin the paper provides brief introductions to the range and nature of Serres’ ideas and Hodges' model. A fusion of the two then follows, culminating in discussion of why this paper matters. Common themes are epistemology, the relationship of the sciences to the humanities, space and time, noise, information, interdisciplinarity and spirituality. Researcher’s attention to Serres and Hodges can be justified on several levels including: integration of knowledge generally and within health and social care disciplines; the need to equip the civic population with tools to facilitate engagement and critique; the need to blend and balance analysis-synthesis, part-whole, quantitative and qualitative. Ultimately, the need for a universal tool to foster, support and sustain discourse between I-Nature, I-You, I-Them. Mapping is central to this objective and Abbas' (2005) text on Serres.

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Abbas, N. (Ed.) (2005) Mapping Michel Serres, Univ. of Michigan Press.

Assad, M.L. (1999) Reading with Michel Serres: An Encounter with Time, SUNY; .

Jones, P. (2004a) Viewpoint: Can informatics and holistic multidisciplinary care be harmonised? British Journal of Healthcare Computing & Information Management; 21, 6, 17-18.

Jones, P. (2004b) The Four Care Domains: Situations Worthy of Research, Conference: Building & Bridging Community Networks: Knowledge, Innovation & Diversity through Communication, Brighton, UK. March Available at
[http://www.comminit.com/healthecomm/planning.php?showdetails=318] Accessed: Oct 11 2005.

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