Title of Article‘Muchness’ as the subjective experience of wellbeing: sharing the findings of a participatory inquiry with nurses
Type of ArticleOriginal Article
Author/sKate Sanders
ReferenceVolume 13, Issue 1, Article 2
Date of PublicationMay 2023
KeywordsArts-informed approaches, flourishing, participatory inquiry, Photo Voice, subjective experience of wellbeing, virtual methods

Background: I discovered the concept of muchness when reading a blog that considered quotes from Alice in Wonderland to identify what meaning they could offer healthcare. One was from the Mad Hatter:

‘You used to be much more “muchier”. You’ve lost your muchness.’

Reflecting on my experiences of working with nurses who reported feeling overworked, undervalued and undermined, I questioned whether some nursing staff had lost their muchness – their subjective experience of wellbeing.

Aims: The research aimed to work with nurses to explore two research questions:

What is muchness?

How can muchness be nurtured?

Methods: An innovative research method was developed – Virtual Picture Voice. This enabled nurses to create and share ‘stories of muchness’ and then participate in their analysis and synthesis, contributing to the creation of the Muchness Model Version 1. A metasynthesis process followed, drawing on wider theoretical understandings and resulting in the development of the Muchness Model Version 2.

Findings: Version 2 advocates for a ‘full-life’ understanding of wellbeing – a balance between the pursuit of feeling fulfilled and feeling good, facilitated by reflection and action.

Conclusions: A holistic approach to the facilitation of wellbeing can enable nurses to identify what is important/matters to them, personally and professionally. Critical reflection on self, our relationships and the contexts in which we work can generate knowledge to inform actions towards experiencing subjective wellbeing in the workplace.

Implications for practice:

  • Creative approaches to self-inquiry can facilitate access to experiential and embodied knowledge, informing actions that facilitate wellbeing
  • The Muchness Model Version 2:
    • can stimulate critical reflection and dialogue with self and others, helping identify factors that enable or limit muchness and potentially informing action at individual, team and organisational levels
    • offers a person-centred approach to the facilitation of wellbeing in nurses across the career trajectory and within leadership and culture-change programmes

This article by Kate Sanders is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 3.0 License.

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