Vulnerability and care from the nursing perspective: a review integrated literature


  • Maggie Campillay-Campillay Universidad de Atacama
  • Cristina Yañez-Corrales Pontificia Universidad Católica de Ecuador
  • Pablo Dubó Araya Universidad de Atacama
  • Isabel Sanjinés-Rodríguez FLACSO-Ecuador, Facultad de Ciencias sociales
  • Patricia Pizcoya-Angeles Universidad Privada del Norte
  • Patricia Chavarry-Ysla Universidad Privada del Norte


Vulnerability is a concept widely used in the social sciences literature, and incorporated into the health field with the development of bioethics, and the model of social determinants of health. It has been described by experts as a complex concept, and very useful for addressing populations susceptible to illness. This ethically obliges nursing to identify these groups and respond to their care needs. Goal. To review the literature to analyze the intersections in the conceptual relationship between vulnerability and care, from a nursing perspective. Methodology. An integrative review of the literature was carried out based on the systematization proposed by Whittemore and Knafl. Literature from the last five years available in the Wos®, Scopus® and PubMed® databases was considered. The keywords “vulnerability” and “care” were used in the search strategy. Results. 18 articles were selected, coinciding with countries with health models with a social focus, such as Canada and Brazil. In the analysis, five themes were identified and described in which vulnerability and care intersect; ontological, epidemiological, social and bioethical paradigm, and the association between vulnerability and care needs. conclusions. The literature reports the close relationship between vulnerability and care, given that the nature of professional nursing care is the socially organized response to human vulnerability.


Nursing care, health vulnerability, social vulnerability, vulnerable populations