Knowing People and Interpretive Practice

  • Whitney C Turcato University of Calgary
  • Graham McCaffrey
  • Nancy J Moules
Keywords: hermeneutics, interpretation, nursing, mental health nursing, outreach nursing


This paper is my response to the statement “All nursing is interpretive.” Using an exemplar from my experience as an outreach nurse with the homeless population, I provide my perspective on how nursing is not only interpretive, but how interpretation is an integral component of nursing practice across practice settings. It is demonstrated that interpretation not only helps us to know people, but can also help us navigate our settings and at times keep us safe. It is written in the first person from the perspective of the first author.


Moules, N.J., McCaffrey, G., Field, J.C., & Laing, C.M. (2015). Conducting hermeneutic research: From philosophy to practice. New York, NY: Peter Lang.