Nursing as a caring practice from a phenomenological perspective

Scand J Caring Sci. 2005 Dec;19(4):303-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-6712.2005.00350.x.


Nursing is frequently described as a caring practice. What this concept means may be less clear. This paper considers nursing as a caring practice in three steps. First, the concept of practice based on Taylor's and MacIntyre's philosophical definitions of the term is described. Secondly, numerous notions of caring are presented; the call from some nurse researchers for quantification of the concept and why this is problematic is discussed; and an exposition of caring from a phenomenological perspective is provided. Finally, the notions of practice and caring are joined, and the concept of a caring practice is presented. Nursing as a public caring practice is illustrated with examples from an interpretive phenomenological study. In conclusion, it is claimed that a phenomenological view of caring combined with a comprehensive definition of practice is well suited to nursing, and allows for a description of nurses' caring practices from both a nursing and patient perspective.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Empathy*
  • Humans
  • Nursing Research*
  • Nursing*
  • Philosophy, Nursing*