Aim: Investigating into the possible disparity between theory and practice in caring by analysing nurses’ lived experience of the understanding of caring theory in practice in the context of municipal elderly care.
Background: Caring theories are the description and conceptualization of the care that is given in caring practise by nurses and other professional caregivers with the aim of verbalizing and communicating caring phenomena. Intermittently, a theory –practice gap is given expression- that theory does not go along with clinical practice in caring.
Method: Hermeneutical phenomenology was the research approach used to explore the lived experience of caring science theories in caring practice from the perspective of 12 nurses working in municipal care for elderly.
Findings: A detachment to caring theory was enunciated, but when describing their caring intentions, the nurses’ relationship to theory became apparent, and even confirmed their practice. As such, a seedbed exists for caring theory to be reflected on and cultivated in caring praxis. However, as the nurses describe, the caring theory must be sensitive enough for the nursing practitioners to accept. The gap revealed itself on an organisational level, as the nurses’ commission in municipal care did not correspond with their caring intention.
Conclusion: We believe it is important to seriously consider what we want to achieve as a caring profession. We have to reflect on our responsibility as culture carriers and knowledge developers. We must make the disparate forces of intention and organisation become one intertwining force.