Right There, in the Midst of It: Impacts of the Therapeutic Relationship on Mental Health Nurses

  • Angela C Morck University of Calgary, Canada
Keywords: mental health nursing, therapeutic relationship, hermeneutics, narratives, distress


Mental health nurses are frequently confronted by intense emotions within the therapeutic relationship. In this philosophical hermeneutic inquiry, five mental health nurses were interviewed to extend our understandings of how nurses are impacted by the interplay with the often emotion-laden narratives of their patients. Findings exposed the nurses journeyed between fluctuating needs to separate and protect their private from their work life. In order for this fluctuation to occur, they developed a sense of the world as requiring a sanctuary. This ontological place of home is the extent to which they felt safe and sheltered in order for this process of awareness of self as person and self as nurse to unfold. This research brings to the forefront the ways in which mental health nursing practice, education, and research are reciprocally moved by the practical day-to-day activities of being in therapeutic relationships.


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