Nursing and researching


Mary Fitzgerald Department of Clinical Nursing, University of Adelaide, Adelaide 5005, Australia.


Fitzgerald M. International Journal of Nursing Practice 1997; 3: 53–56

Nursing and Researching

An example from an interpretive phenomenological study of the experience of chronic illness in rural Australia is used to describe aspects of the nursing researcher relationship with study participants and to draw some comparisons between this relationship and the nurse and client relationship. Nurses are bound to serve their clients; however, the researcher’s principal purpose is to come to know and understand. These different principal purposes do not necessarily mean that the two relationships are completely different processes. There is a case for making the most of some overlapping skills and to see the results as positive ‘by-products’. The question as to whether, or to what extent it is possible for the researcher to help participants intentionally is an issue worthy of discussion.