• chronic illness;
  • hermeneutics;
  • nurse–patient relationship;
  • nursing practice;
  • phenomenology

The aim of this study was to investigate how the caring relationship is formed in a medical context. The data were collected using participant observation with field notes and analysed by an interpretive phenomenological method. The context circumstances in a medical milieu demanded exacting efficiency and risks to oppress the caring relationship, subsequently causing demands in nursing practice. Three themes of the caring relationship were identified as respect for each other and for themselves, responsibility to reach out to each other and engagement. Patients' and nurses' awareness in encounters drove the forming of a caring relationship that went beyond the individual nurse and patient. This study implicates the importance of an understanding of how context circumstances create the foundation of the caring relationship.