Hermeneutic Application Research― Finding a Common Understanding and Consensus on Care and Caring

Koskinen and Nystrom


To contribute to the development of the hermeneutical application research design in its epistemological, ontological and ethical perspective, by articulating and clarifying the central foundations in the application.

n = 3

Theory of caring can only become evident and implemented in a clinical practice through moments when the participants find a common understanding and consensus on the knowledge of care and caring.

On the basis of Gadamer’s hermeneutical thinking and Levinas ethical thinking, the central foundations in the application research are ethics, creation of a hermeneutical room, dialogue and common understanding and appropriation and action. When theoretical understanding turns into praxis, knowledge also becomes activity and theory and practice become one.



“I’m Not Sure I’m a Nurse”: A Hermeneutic Phenomenological Study of Nursing Home Nurses’ Work Identity

Thompson et al. (2018)

To explore nursing home nurses’ experiences and views of work identity.

n = 13

Evidence suggests that using the concept of work identity can support understanding of how workers make sense of their work.

Participants’ responses suggested that nursing “residents” is different to nursing “patients”, and nursing home nurses are required to modify their care activities to account for these differences. Participants also proposed that they are isolated and excluded from the rest of the healthcare workforce group. These issues led participants to feel uncertain about work identity. Many participants attempted to strengthen their work identity by aligning their role with what they perceived the “nurse identity” to be.



The Meaning of Learning to Live with Medically Unexplained Symptoms as Narrated by Patients in Primary Care: A Phenomenological -Hermeneutic Study

Liden et al. (2015)

To describe and interpret the experiences of learning to live with medically unexplained symptoms as narrated by patients in primary health-care settings.

n = 10

Patients suffering from MUS constantly engage in a reflective process involving reasoning about and interpretation of their symptoms. Their efforts to describe their symptoms to healthcare professionals are part of this reflection and search for meaning. The role of healthcare professionals in the interpretative process should be acknowledged as a conventional and necessary care activity.

Two themes

・ Feeling that the symptoms overwhelm life.

・ Gaining insights and moving on the findings revealed a learning process that is presented in two themes. The first, feeling that the symptoms overwhelm life, involved becoming restricted and dependent in daily life and losing the sense of self. The second, gaining insights and moving on, was based on subthemes describing the patients’ search for explanations, learning to take care of oneself, as well as learning to accept and becoming mindful.