The lived experience of patient prudence in health care The purpose of this phenomenological study was to describe the lived experience of patient prudence in health care. Prudence has previously been defined as good judgement in setting realistic personal goals and using personal resources to achieve those goals. Audiotaped interviews were conducted with 10 hospitalized adults for whom health care providers had previously recommended life style changes for health reasons. Data were analysed using Colaizzi's method. Seventy-seven significant statements were identified and, from their formulated meanings, seven themes emerged that were integrated into a description of the fundamental structure of prudence. From the patient perspective, prudence in health care is a dynamic phenomenon that involves achieving well-being and self-perpetuation within the context of the patient's world of competing values and is experienced with emotions that range from harmony to fear and depression.