• ontological care;
  • intentional care;
  • identity-constituting care;
  • Benner and Wrubel;
  • nursing practice;
  • nursing theory

Benner and Wrubel on caring in nursing

Aims. To explain the distinction between intentional and ontological care; to explain the distinction, within the category of ontological care, between deep care and identity constituting care and to show how the latter form of care is of relevance to nursing theory and practice.

Background. The idea of intentional care is familiar in much writing on care within nursing literature. Within Benner and Wrubel’s book The Primacy of Caring, Stress and Coping in Health and Illness the idea of ontological care is exploited. But many interpret their claims on this topic as claims concerning intentional care. The present paper tries to clarify this misunderstanding.

Conclusion. The notions of intentional and ontological care are each important within nursing theory and practice. But it is also important to understand how they differ. And it is equally important to appreciate how the idea of ontological care applies to nursing practice.