Acting Slow in a Fast World: A Phenomenological Study of Caring in the Recovery Room

Pia Dreyer, Bente Martinsen, Annelise Norlyk, Anita Haahr


In this paper, we discuss “the slow in the fast” related to care situations in a “fast-track” hospital
setting were the length of patients’ stay has been reduced significantly. The discussion is based
on a narrative created from observations made in a postoperative care unit where patients are
intensively observed and cared for during a very short time span.
We found that within the phenomenological notions of lived time, lived space and lived
illness, it is possible to create an imaginative space in time – to make a time warp. Despite
being in a setting where the objective time measure dominates, the nurse can create a rhythm
of her own in the room. Thus, acting slow in the quick meeting means that nurse-patient
relationship is characterized by calmness and quietness, the nurse’s engagement in the patient’s
suffering and her help to the patient to endure the present and hold the now.

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ISSN: 1913-4711