The use of care in medical education suggests that it is foundational to understanding health care education. However, presently the concept is ambiguous and risks being a 'container concept' that becomes meaningless because it is used generally. In publications that feature the concept, it is usually in service of another aspect that is under investigation, and not care itself. For instance, publications on teaching patient-centred care focus on the meaning of 'patient-centeredness' rather than care. In 'health care', there are debates about what 'health' means, but not care. The concept is also used in different and sometimes contradictory meanings: care as the organizational structure of health care that safeguards (health care system), care as empathy or careful attention of medical trainees for patients (caring about one's patients, treating them carefully), and, finally, care as motivation and focus toward a goal (caring about graduating, making a contribution). We turn to the philosophy of Heidegger to integrate these different appearances of care into a unified structure. Heidegger's Being and Time describes care as the basic ontological structure of human existence. This turns out to be a structure of time: in the familiar structure of past present and future. Anticipating a future end, which determines our attitude toward the people, objects, and physical structures we are with now, and in the light of which we orient ourselves to what is already there.
Heidegger believes that time finds its meaning in death, according to Michael Kelley. That is, time is understood only from a finite or mortal vantage. Dasein's fundamental characteristic and mode of "being-in-the-world" is temporal: Having been "thrown" into a world implies a "pastness" in its being. "The present is the nodal moment which makes past and future intelligible," writes Lilian Alweiss. Dasein occupies itself with the present tasks required by goals it has projected on the future. 2b1af7f3a8