Student nurses’ experiences of how caring and learning is intertwined – A phenomenological study

Camilla Eskilsson, Ulrica Hörberg, Margaretha Ekebergh, Gunilla Carlsson


Background: Clinical studies in nursing education ought to create conditions for the students to link theory to praxis. Previous research in this field focuses on the gap between theory and practice, learning environments, supervision and reflection connected to caring and learning. In addition there are studies that propose the concept of learning and caring as intertwined. The aim of this study is to describe how caring and learning is intertwined from a student perspective.

Methods: The study was carried out using Reflective Lifeworld Research (RLR) with a phenomenological approach. Lifeworld interviews were conducted with students after their clinical placement on a Dedicated Education Unit (DEU).

Results: The essential meaning is a movement where caring and learning fall into place which appears in an atmosphere filled with appealing challenges, but has to be sensitive to the students’ readiness. The atmosphere depends on their sense of security and how they experience confirming and affirming responses. Encountering the patient means that the students can gain a sense of the whole and the theory falls into place. The results also highlight how the student, in this atmosphere, has a desire to find a new role in a personal style.

Conclusions: The study emphasizes the importance of supporting the students in understanding learning and caring as intertwined and not separated. A dualistic approach could harm the students’ aim to get the knowledge embodied. This holistic perspective requires a reflective attitude on caring and learning and has to be further developed in the didactics and supervision.


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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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