Application of Heideggerian phenomenology to mentorship of nursing students

Wilson, Anthea (2014). Application of Heideggerian phenomenology to mentorship of nursing students. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 70(12) pp. 2910–2919.




To discuss interpretations of the lived experience of mentoring based on Heidegger's concept of dasein. The focus is on one main theme identified in an in-depth study of the lived experience of nurses mentoring students in their workplace: a world of hope for the nursing profession.


This article focuses on dasein's ‘existence’, which is temporally aligned with having a future. Data relating to this theme are presented and interpreted with respect to the temporal aspect of dasein pertaining to ‘having a future’ and the Heideggerian existentials of existence and verstehen (understanding).


The research design was based on hermeneutic phenomenology, exploring the mentors' ‘being’.


Data were gathered during 2008 through hermeneutic interviews, event diaries and participant drawings. Analysis occurred through sustained hermeneutic engagement with the data and application of an interpretive lens provided by Heidegger's care structure.


Three sub-themes are identified: ‘being a gatekeeper’, ‘sustaining a professional will’, and ‘passing on the special things’.


Mentors can and need to engage on a deep personal level with their students if they are to intervene appropriately as gatekeepers to the profession.

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