Appropriation and application of caring science theory: Experiences of master education alumni in three Nordic countries

Ann Helén Sandvik*, Pia Dahlström, Camilla Koskinen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
41 Downloads (Pure)


Background: A theoretical foundation in caring science is invaluable for nursing care because it enriches practice by providing explanations, clarity and direction. However, after graduation, students experience the frustration of not being able to sufficiently intertwine caring science theories in practice. Consequently, the integration of caring science theories in nursing education and practice is considered an essential focus area to reduce this theory–practice gap. Aim: This study aims to elucidate master alumni's experiences of appropriation and application of caring science after completing a master's education. Methods: The data were collected by semi-structured interviews with 21 alumni from Finland, Sweden and Norway who had recently completed a master's degree with caring science as the major subject. A thematic analysis was used. Findings: The analysis resulted in two main themes, both with three subthemes. Educator's bearing and a learning community are important for students’ appropriation of caring science theories. Learning through reflection and the response of others evoke new paths of thought, and practice-related teaching promotes the intertwining and application of caring science theory in practice. The appropriated theory has significance to alumni by providing a guiding basis that strengthens alumni's professional bearing and way of being. The caring science theory guides alumni in providing nursing care with an increased ethical awareness and questioning approach that enables good patient care. Their professional identity and confidence in caring are also strengthened. Conclusion: Educators’ bearing is of outermost importance for appropriation and application of caring science theory. It has a key function in facilitating students’ understanding and intertwining of caring science theory and practice. Appropriated caring science theory provides authority and courage to practice nursing care. The appropriated theory promotes alumni's ethical awareness, confidence and a sense of pride in the profession.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • application
  • appropriation
  • caring science theory
  • master education
  • qualitative
  • thematic analysis


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