A mission of privilege and peril : the phenomenon of community palliative nurses caring for the suffering

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The experience of 12 community palliative care nurses has been investigated in a phenomenological study. The study described the phenomenon of caring for people who were suffering. The phenomenological description of the community palliative care nurses’ role uncovered the structures of meaning of what it is to care for people who suffer. Following a sequence of steps aimed at analysing, interpreting and reflecting on the nurses' description of caring for people who are suffering, it was judged that this experience could be described as an experience of privilege and peril. Five themes were drawn from the nurses’ descriptions of caring for people who suffered. These five themes refer to the nurses’ experience of caring for people who suffer as: making the journey knowing suffering, giving care, receiving, and keeping a balance. The essences of the phenomena were revealed in further reflection as Being a sojourner, Being initiated into the world of suffering, Being all that they can, Being enhanced, and Being mindful. The final hermeneutic description of the nurses’ experience of caring for people who suffered as a mission of privilege and peril is drawn from each layer of meaning.
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