The meaning of learning in critical care nursing: a hermeneutic study


Christine Little IMCS, Bournemouth University, 17 Christchurch Road, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH1 3NA.


The meaning of learning in critical care nursing: a hermeneutic study

Many critical care nurses choose to undertake further, specialist education and have an expectation that the curriculum will reflect their common learning requirements. Although previous studies have addressed education-related issues, few have explored fundamental learning needs as expressed by the students themselves. This paper summarizes a study which aimed to explore the meaning of learning to 10 intensive care/coronary care nurses who had recently undertaken specialist post-registration study. Utilizing an interpretative human science approach (Heideggerian hermeneutic phenomenology) the study identified three major themes: learning as focusing, learning as questioning and learning as technological mastery. One theme, learning as technological mastery, was revealed to be a particular feature of critical care nursing and was subsequently identified as the constitutive pattern. An alternative view of the relationship between nursing and technology is presented from the perspective of Heideggerian hermeneutic phenomenology. As a phenomenological account, this study does not claim to be representative of the larger population of critical care learners; however, it is suggested that unique human experiences may also be shared by others with similar backgrounds.