Phenomenology and Nursing: International Workshops

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For decades, phenomenology has been used as a method in qualitative health care. This is not surprising, given that phenomenology has a persistent interest in human existence, in subjective experience, and in the structure of the lifeworld. To offer proper care, it is important to understand the meaning that people attach to the events that disrupt their lives just as it is important to have some understanding of what it is like to live with such conditions. But although phenomenology does offer important resources, its actual use in research and clinical practice has been hampered by widespread misunderstandings of its central tenets and by too superficial or too theoretical engagements with philosophical texts.

We are developing new approaches to using phenomenology in nursing and health care. Our approach primarily takes advantage of the concepts, rather than the methods, of classical phenomenology.  We adapt phenomenological concepts such as subjectivity, experience, empathy, the lived body, and the lifeworld for use in health care research and practice. This conceptual approach allows us to (a) better integrate the philosophically rich insights of phenomenology with a variety of qualitative research methods and (b) bring phenomenological understandings of human existence directly to clinical practice.

In collaboration with Casey Rentmeester (Bellin College) and Patricia Thille (University of Manitoba), we have designed and piloted two workshops for clinical and academic nurses, physiotherapists, and allied health professionals. The workshops will introduce participants to phenomenological concepts—such as embodiment, empathy, and lived time—demonstrating how these concepts can help practitioners understand patient experience:


Bellin College of Nursing, Bellevue, Wisconsin, USA

Dec. 3rd, 2019

(Partner: Casey Rentmeester)



University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada

Dec. 7th, 2019

(Partner: Patty Thille)


Project Website:

Since June 2019 this project is funded by the TORCH International Partnership scheme.


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