• critical care;
  • human becoming;
  • Parse method;
  • phenomenological-hermeneutic research;
  • waiting


The purposes of this study were to discover the essences of the experience of waiting, to provide new knowledge about what it is like to wait, and to contribute to nursing knowledge. Participants were 12 persons who were family members or friends of persons in an adult critical care unit. The Parse research method was used to answer the research question: What is the structure of the lived experience of waiting? The central finding of this study was this structure: The lived experience of waiting is a vigilant attentiveness surfacing amid an ambiguous turbulent lull as contentment emerges with uplifting engagements. The structure is discussed in relation to nursing knowledge and in relation to how it can inform future research and practice. © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Res Nurs Health 25:58–67, 2002.