• Interpretive phenomenology;
  • chronic illness;
  • health effects


Purpose: To understand the patient–healthcare provider (HCP) relationship from the lived experience of women with chronic disease and determine how this relationship affects women’s health.

Data sources: Narrative accounts of 25 women’s relationships with HCPs in repeated group and individual interviews were audio-taped and transcribed verbatim. Interpretive phenomenology was used to explore the data using three interconnected modes of paradigm cases, exemplars, and themes.

Conclusions: Women with chronic disease believed their health was significantly affected by their relationships with HCPs. They experienced a greater sense of well-being and security in connected relationships and had more confidence and motivation to manage their illness.

Implications for practice: This research suggests that for women with chronic disease, relationships with HCPs that are connected, and characterized by partnership, and personableness result in the women feeling better in many dimensions. The context of today’s healthcare system often pushes the nurse practitioner (NP) to provide care more attuned to medical issues, leaving little time for the development of connected relationships. In spite of this pressure, NPs need to strive to develop relationships with patients that are intersubjective/connected.