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Int J Nurs Stud. 2007 Aug;44(6):905-15. Epub 2007 Apr 3.

The expression of caring within the perioperative dialogue: a hermeneutic study.

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  • 1Department of Caring Science, Abo Academy University, Vasa, PB 311, FI-65101 Vasa, Finland. gudrun.rudolfsson@comhem.se <gudrun.rudolfsson@comhem.se>



This article, which is based on a study conducted in a perioperative context in Sweden, focuses on nurse anaesthetists' and theatre nurses' descriptions of caring and how caring becomes visible to patients in the perioperative dialogue. The perioperative dialogue is the pre-, intra- and postoperative meeting between the nurse and patient in connection with the latter's surgery.


Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 18 patients and 20 nurses, in which they described their experiences of perioperative dialogues. The interpretation process was based on Gadamer's philosophy of hermeneutics.


The findings indicate that, as a caring act, the vow involves: promising to allow the patient to be him/herself, promising to safeguard the welfare of the patient and promising to guide the patient through the operation as well as taking responsibility for that which I have promised. From the patient's perspective, the nurse was someone who: cares about me, takes me seriously, creates a calm atmosphere and to whom I can hand over responsibility.


Four empirical assumptions were formulated in relation to the nurse's vow and how the nurse's caring became visible to the patients.

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