A Heideggerian phenomenological study of nurses' experience of presence

Welch, Dianne (2001) A Heideggerian phenomenological study of nurses' experience of presence. Research Master thesis, Victoria University of Technology.


Nursing brings together two persons' worlds, one being that of the nurse and the other of the patient. Their worlds embody past experiences, expectations, limitations and potential. Nurse theorists have described this bringing together as an intersecting intersubjectivity or presence. This Heideggerian phenomenological study enabled the researcher to explore six registered nurses' meaning of presence as experienced within their clinical practice. These registered nurses were all clinicians with extensive experience in a variety of clinical settings. A hermeneutical analysis of their experiences revealed that presence is a powerful intersecting of nurses' and patients' subjective worlds. Presence, according to these nurses, was an enriching experience within nursing practice that provided them with immense professional satisfaction. It was from the spiritual connectedness of care that their need to care for and be with patients in meaningful interactions was fulfilled. Despite the difficulties these participants encountered, their commitment to care and need to find meaning in their practice motivated them to transcend these encumbrances and connect with patients in deep meaningful ways. This study recommends strategies be implemented within nursing to acknowledge these experiences, and for nurses to create times and space to share these subjective experiences.

Additional Information

Master of Health Science

Item type Thesis (Research Master thesis)
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/17922
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1110 Nursing
Historical > FOR Classification > 1702 Cognitive Science
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Nursing and Midwifery
Keywords nursing practice, patients, care, philosophy, spirituality, Heideggerian hermeneutic phenomenology, existentialism
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