Shared humanity and the psychiatric nurse-patient encounter



Publication Details

Walsh, K. (1999). Shared humanity and the psychiatric nurse-patient encounter. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 8 (1), 2-9.


The paper is based on a phenomenological study of the nurse–patient encounter, the purpose of which was to uncover meaning and generate understandings of being a psychiatric nurse. The study was informed by the phenomenology of Martin Heidegger (1962) and the philosophical hermeneutics of Hans-Georg Gadamer (1975). Drawing upon this phenomenological study it is my intention to discuss three of the existential elements to emerge from an interpretative analysis of these encounters; ‘Being-with’ as understanding, ‘Being-with’ as possibility, and ‘Being-with’ as ‘care-full’ concern. The paper also discusses two modes of being-with patients; the modes of the ‘they’ nurse and the ‘self’ nurse. An underlying theme of shared humanity emerged from the study and had the effect of unifying the other concepts uncovered.

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