Get access

Time to think: temporal considerations in nursing practice and research


  • Aled R. Jones BN RGN RMN Post-grad Dip Soc Res

    1. Tutor (Nursing) and Part-time Doctoral Student, School of Health Science, University of Wales Swansea, Swansea, UK
    Search for more papers by this author

Aled R. Jones School of Health Science, University of Wales Swansea, Singleton Park, Swansea SA2 8PP, UK. E-mail:


Time to think: temporal considerations in nursing practice and research

Aims of the study/paper. To explore the meaning of nursing time, both as it is represented in the literature and interpreted within nursing practice. To explore how nursing time may be better conceptualized through exploring non-nursing literature and the use of theory derivation.

Background/Rationale. The dynamic of time is one of the most important influences upon nursing behaviour, yet temporal issues have attracted very little attention in the literature regarding nursing practice, theory and research.

Design/Method. In the course of this literature review an attempt is made, via the process of theory derivation, to clarify the meaning of ‘nursing time’, and how nursing time is valued and perceived by others.

Results/Findings. The literature reveals misconceptions and a lack of value of nursing time, possibly indicative of the dominance of linear models of time (such as clock and calendar time), and the historical ascendancy of medicine and the positivistic sciences over nursing. It is proposed here that nurses exist and practice within nonlinear, complex and parallel temporal worlds; these are considered by examining research data that illustrates a moment in nursing time. Exploring this moment gives an opportunity to introduce some terms and concepts that may be useful in the future conceptualization of nursing time.

Conclusions. It is recommended that attention to such factors as the complex temporal dynamics inherent within health care in general, and nursing in particular, should be considered within the domains of nursing practice and research. This may help in distinguishing the fundamental identity and nature of nursing within health care and health care professions.