Date of Award

Winter 2008

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Gerard Tobin


Suffering is a complex and multidimensional experience that is individual in nature and deeply personal. Effecting all aspects of being---physical, psychological/emotional, sociocultural, spiritual---suffering may impact all dimensions of a patient's life. The purpose of this study is to explore nurses' perception of patients who suffer. The study aims to raise the level of awareness of patient suffering for nurses, and thereby serve as a basis for reflecting on the impact of their nursing care on the health of the individual and patient outcomes. A qualitative study explores how a group of eight nurses described suffering in their patients. Themes, which emerge from the narratives given by the nurses, include the effect of suffering on the four aspects of being, the inability to relieve suffering, the importance of presence, and listening to patient's stories.