Buy this Article for $10.95

Have a coupon or promotional code? Enter it here:

When you buy this you'll get access to the ePub version, a downloadable PDF, and the ability to print the full article.


clinical intimacy, existential concern, human person, nursing theory, unity of nursing



  1. Green, Catherine


Background: Today, when nurses are expected to manage large stores of data while providing precision care to individuals or groups of patients, it seems more important than ever that we understand the nature of nursing. Recently, there has been a renewed interest in examining what nursing is and how a clear understanding would impact nursing practice.


Objective: The goal of this article is to review an ontological account of nursing that seeks to understand the nature of nursing by showing the relation between the goal and structure of nursing care in association with the persons who are its recipients and practitioners.


Discussion: Nursing is directed to the care and well-being of persons, prevention of illness, restoration of health, and alleviation of suffering. Following the lead of many prior nurse theorists, I argue that nursing is a coherent unity of practice. Its various activities often occur in a clinically intimate interaction and are colored and shaped by the existential concern of the persons involved. Nursing care is directed to all the numerous aspects of the human person, is governed by a broadly ethical mandate and unified by its caring goal. Furthermore, these interactions in their reality, intimacy, and complexity allow for a kind of knowledge that is important for and unique to nursing.