This article describes a nursing encounter between Sue, a nurse, and Becky, a patient. Sue and Becky related to one another through a sense of shared humanity that not only relieved some of Becky's pain, but also created some possibilities for changing patterns in her life that had been built up over a long period. The article suggests that nurses and patients relate to one another through their affinity as humans. Within the context of caring, nurses such as Sue are ordinary people perceived as being extraordinarily effective by the very ways in which their humanness shines through their knowledge and skills to make their whole being with patients something more than just professional helping. An implication for nursing knowledge arising from Sue's and Becky's interaction, and from the study generally, is the need to reconceptualize the nurse as person, so that nurses are described not only in terms of their professional roles and functions but also as people who share the everyday human qualities of their patients.
© 1992 Aspen Publishers, Inc.