A hermeneutic study of the experiences of relatives of critically ill patients


  • Allan John Walters RN PhD FRCNA

    1. Honorary Researcher (Nursing), Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney, and Head, Department of Medical, Surgical and Paediatric Nursing, Faculty of Nursing and Health Studies University of Western Sydney Nepean, PO Box 10, Kingswood, New South Wales, 2747 Australia
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This paper describes a hermeneutic study of experiences of relatives of critically ill patients in the context of a large tertiary referral hospital in Sydney, Australia The participants were 15 female family members of critically ill patients Taped conversations between the researcher and participants were conducted and interpreted using Reinharz's hermeneutic method Two themes emerged from the participants’ experiences and are described as ‘being-with’ and ‘seeing’‘Being-with’ focused on the desire of the participants to ‘be-with’ their relatives, in a physical and emotional sense The theme 'seeing’highlighted the importance of actually seeing the patient Ontological concepts relating to the themes are described with reference to Taylor's concept of being human