The lived experiences of emotionally insecure nursing students: A qualitative study

Tina Kirstine Vestphal*, Karen Steenvinkel Pedersen, Birthe D. Pedersen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Research shows that students who feel emotionally insecure are at risk of dropping out of nursing educational program. It is, therefore, important to support student resilience in the international nursing education. The aim of this study was to investigate the lived experiences of undergoing a nursing education as an emotionally insecure student. The method was conducted within a phenomenological-hermeneutic approach, inspired by the French philosopher Paul Ricoeur's theory of narrative and interpretation, which is conducted in a three-phased structure: Naïve reading, structural analysis and critical interpretation and discussion. Seven participants were included in the study. The findings show that feeling emotionally insecure can be linked to not feeling good enough and feeling misunderstood – yet, with hidden resources. Nurse educators must be aware that emotionally insecure students can easily feel shame, must be willing to help clear up potential misunderstandings and should be curious about resources that might be hidden, such as competence awareness. Hidden resources might be related to protective factors and resilience. The study points to ways in which the relation between nurse educators and students can affect resilience, and that students are not solely either resilient or emotionally insecure; resilience may exist within vulnerability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102694
JournalNurse Education in Practice
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


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