Living the experience of being nursed: A phenomenological text


  • Sally Ann Borbasi RN Dip Teach (Nsing) BEd (Nsing) MA (Educ) PhD

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    1. Senior Lecturer, Department of Clinical Nursing, Faculty of Medicine, University of Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
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Sally Ann Borbasi, Department of Clinical Nursing, Faculty of Medicine, University of Adelaide, South Australia 5005, Australia.


The content of this paper could be described as the ‘offspring’of a parent study that used a methodology informed by hermeneutic phenomenology and while it is capable of standing alone it does share this determining influence. Through a process that included participant observation and hermeneutic conversation the parent study sought to reveal the ontology embedded in advanced clinical nursing. The work was carried out at a major Sydney hospital where the lifeworld of advanced clinical nurses was explored through the participation of nine clinical nurse specialists (CNS) engaged in bedside nursing in surgical wards. The exploration also took into account the patients and their ‘being-in-the-world’. Interviews/conversations/interactions were carried out with 26 patients who were seen to play a central role in shaping the reality of the workworld of these nurses. It is the findings from this component of the parent study that is the subject of this paper. An analysis of patients’perceptions constituted through sharing the workworld of nurses has resulted in a reconstruction in the form of a phenomenological text that presents a case for ‘seeing’how patients discern ‘quality’when it comes to nursing care. The intention of creating a phenomenological text was to offer the reader a plausible understanding of patients’views about differing nurses. This qualitative reasoning by the patients offers a means by which nurses can view their contribution to patient care. It may also enrich the nurse's sense of the patient's world. There was a perception by patients of differing types of nurses, that is, of ‘experienced’, ‘better’and/or ‘special’nurses as opposed to ‘lesser’ones, and a high value was placed on the advanced practice nurse.