Becoming a caring nurse: - the heart of the matter in nurse education

Ann-Helén Sandvik

Research output: Types of ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


This thesis in caring science didactics is based on a thinking, where the fundamental basis for the didactic is science-based, i.e. it does not emanate from the nursing profession but brings forward a didactic that grows out of caring science and its core substance and ethos. This view on didactics arises from the caritative theory developed by Eriksson.


The overall aim of the study is to clarify the meaning and essence of understanding, as well as to explore and deepen the understanding of student nurses' processes of understanding and becoming with the intention of developing a theory model for caring didactics. The overarching research questions are: What is the essence of understanding (of caring science knowledge)? What are the possibilities and importance of understanding in the appropriation of caring science? What characterizes and impels the process of becoming?


The thesis consists of four sub studies and a summary section. The overall methodological approach is hermeneutic involving quantitative as well as qualitative methods. The data for the study has been collected through a longitudinal research project that followed student nurses at three universities during their entire education. The empirical sub studies form the basis for the interpreted knowledge that is formulated in the new understanding. This new understanding have, through additional theory-charging with the theory fragments from Gadamer, generated the heuristic synthesis which is illustrated in the theory model.


The findings shows that understanding can be described as something unlimited, as an endless movement, which can be illustrated as a lying eighth, a lemniscate. The lemiscate of understanding is characterized by seeing, knowing and becoming and consists of seven differently named phases; the acquired horizon of understanding, the encounter of horizons, the dialogue of horizons, the fusion of horizons, application, reflection and shaping a new horizon of understanding. Bildung (formation), is the ultimate imprint of the endless spiral movement of understanding. Ethos and arête constitute the hubs around which the lemniscate of understanding circles. These include the spirit and driving force that the student carries within. The caring culture encloses the lemniscate of understanding. The caring culture provides the life space of understanding and the prevailing basic values are evinced in the culture.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Print ISBNs978-952-12-3188-9
Publication statusPublished - 2015
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


  • Bildung
  • understanding
  • seeing
  • knowing
  • becoming
  • caring didactics
  • Hermeneutics

Cite this