Nursing students’ perspective of nurse-patient relationships as a developmental task: A reconstructive-hermeneutic study

Sebastian Partsch, Claudia Einig


Background: Nursing students’ first-year experiences can be complex and challenging. The lack of evidence on the subjective educational processes and educational courses of nursing students limits the development of supportive teaching/learning processes. Our study examines the acquisition processes of undergraduate nursing students in Germany, focusing on the subjective perception of learning requirements and the identification of developmental tasks.

Methods: We carried out a qualitative panel study to reconstruct nursing students’ developmental process. Data were collected at the end of the first year of nursing students’ training through episodic interviews and were analyzed using reconstructive-hermeneutical analysis.

Results: This paper, as part of a larger study, highlighted the nurse-patient relationship as one identified developmental task in the first year of training. Students reported experiencing and dealing with various challenges due to uncertainties in finding ways in case understanding, developing their new professional roles, and balancing specific and diffuse role relationships. The students did not have a clear orientation about what characterizes a professional nurse-patient relationship and how it differs from personal relationships. Furthermore, various strategies for coping these challenges were identified, which differ both in perspective and in the ways they deal with the challenges.

Conclusions: The results offer insight into nursing students’ subjective educational processes. These insights are expected to aid the development of focused teaching/learning opportunities, thereby assisting students to understand the structure of professional relationships and develop appropriate competencies. For this purpose, it is necessary to develop a systematic concept that focuses and integrates theoretical and practical training.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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