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This paper explores the nature of the nurse as person, as represented by nursing literature and in the author's own research, by considering the tendency nurses have to perceive as different the characteristics of nurses and patients as human beings Nursing scholars have tended to categorize nurses and patients into discrete ‘compartments’ that are convenient for descriptive purposes, but nevertheless have had a tendency to limit people's essential humanness The metaparadigm concept of person in nursing can take on a different meaning if people are regarded in terms of their oneness, rather than by their separateness A brief introduction will be given to some meanings generated in some nursing research, which described the effects of ordinariness as they were manifested by nurses and patients in everyday nursing unit life The possibility is raised that a reconceptualization of the nurse could describe the nurse, not only as a professional helper, but also as a human, whose effectiveness is enhanced through a sense of shared humanity with patients