Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Arch Psychiatr Nurs. 1997 Jun;11(3):155-62.

The lived experience of power and powerlessness in psychiatric nursing: a Heideggerian hermeneutical analysis.

Author information

West Virginia University, School of Nursing at Charleston 25304-1299, USA.


The purpose of this study was to discover some of the meanings inherent in psychiatric nursing practice. The specific question was, "What is the meaning of power and powerlessness as it occurs in the lived experience of practicing psychiatric nurses." The therapeutic nurse-patient relationship is a primary concern for psychiatric nursing. Therefore, issues of power and powerlessness become salient as they affect clients in the mental health system and the clinicians who work with them. If power and powerlessness are important aspects in a conceptualization of mental illness and its treatment, then they will affect clinicians and the relationships that they have with their clients. This study focused on the lived experience of 10 psychiatric registered nurses. Semistructured interviews with these nurses were audiotaped and transcribed into text. They were then analyzed hermeneutically using the philosophical grounding of Heideggerian phenomenology and the hermeneutical methods that are based on that philosophy. One constitutive pattern revealed was "The Power of Knowing." Three relational themes were "Power as Connectedness in Relationships," "Being Tested by Fire," and "Power as Having a Voice." The results of this study enable nurses to understand their practice better and lead to strategies for empowerment of both nurses and the people that they care for. In addition, the use of a hermeneutical data analysis approach has further shown the relevance of this method for knowledge generation in psychiatric nursing.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Support Center