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This phenomenological study was undertaken to discern the meaning psychiatric nurses attach to their patient education experiences. Although patient education crosses all nursing specialty areas, no studies have attempted to describe how it is unique to psychiatric nursing. Hermeneutic analysis of audiotaped, semistructured, in-depth interviews revealed three themes, The Teaching Way, Being In-Between, and Seeing Inside, which, when taken together, formed one constitutive pattern: perseverance. The results indicate that psychiatric nurses are very much involved in educating their patients and that the process differs from traditional expectations of learning readiness. There is also an apparent need to educate students about the realities of health care settings and how to deal with them. The researcher, herself a psychiatric nurse, came away from this tudy with a renewed respect for nurses' commitment to patient education, for their ability to use themselves as therapeutic tools, and for their ability to practice from within political settings which seldom encourage or reward nurses for patient education. Further studies are needed to explore how nurses deal with the political realities affecting their practices and how they maintain their commitment to patient care under such circumstances.
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