Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Science


college students, Exegesis & Hermeneutics, faculty, Martin Heidegger, nursing


This study sought to gain an insight into the phenomenon of nursing faculty members connecting with students. Caring has been espoused as a key component of nursing education for many decades. In the last 10 years the terms caring and connecting are commonly found associated with each other, and yet there is no clear definition of connecting. It is important to understand a phenomenon from the point of view of those who are experiencing it. Therefore, a study which asked nursing educators to tell stories of the times they had connected with students was undertaken. Ten nurse educators in the Southern California area provided the stories for this study. Heideggerian hermeneutic phenomenology provided the philosophical background for this study and the interpretation of the stories. Interaction with the stories of the nursing faculty led to the identification of constitutive themes of the stories. The participants sought connections with students as an outgrowth of their core belief about how to interact with people. Connecting often brought with it an increase in the depth of knowledge about the other, a desire to spent time with the other, and a greater acceptance of the other. If the teacher and the student held similar values the probability of connecting increased. Connecting occurred on both the emotive/personal level and on an intellectual level. Intellectual connecting provided an increase in the energy, that was missing when there was no connection. Intellectual connecting made teaching more fun and faculty members enjoyed the increased energy level. However, connecting also uses the faculty member's time and energy and connecting is sometimes hindered by the lack of one of these resources. Faculty members often experienced the inability to form a connection with students. Differing values were one of the major impediments to forming a connection. Preconceptions held by the teacher, the student, or both, were also identified as things that hindered connecting. In order to understand the stories of the nursing faculty participant, one must be cognizant of their language. Language provided pictures of connecting and not connecting, feelings associated with connecting and not connecting, and descriptions of what connecting meant to the participant. The stories of the nursing faculty provided the groundwork to begin to understand the relationship between caring and connecting. There are many questions left unanswered, but the faculty members provided a starting point for understanding what it means to connect with students.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access



Included in

Nursing Commons