Phenomenological approaches to research have gained popularity in nursing research over past years, in particular the use of critical incident technique. Phenomenology can be traced back to existentialist philosophy where it is expounded in the work of Husserl and Heidegger. One of the most notable examples of phenomenological research in nursing has been the work of Benner who has used this approach to examine expertise in nursing. This paper is an account of a study which attempted to adapt phenomenological methods to the investigation of expertise in nurses working in long-term care settings, which was curtailed by the apparent inability of nurses in the study to identify any sigrulicant incidents. The paper examines this problem in the light of existentialist philosophy and suggests that the apparent lack of expertise identified in the nurses might be due more to a tendency of phenomenological studies to focus more on articulation than on attunement or potential, the other elements of dasein. The paper concludes that attention to these elements is required when phenomenology is used.