Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Nursing (Research)


School of Nursing and Midwifery


Faculty of Education and Arts

First Advisor

Dr Deborah Sundin

Second Advisor

Mrs Helen Godwin


This thesis describes the experiences of nurses and midwives working in metropolitan hospitals who cared for a significant other in their role of employment.

The absence of research directly related to this topic guided the exploration of individuals’ experiences to establish base line knowledge relating to this phenomenon.

This study used descriptive research to provide information relating to the personal and professional effects on nurses who were required to, chose to or had no choice but to care for a significant other in their role of employment. An on-line survey gathered demographic, Likert scale responses to evaluate impact on care, and personal narratives to describe and reflect on their experiences.

Nurses’ recollections showed that nurses personalise the importance of patient outcomes, are distracted from the usual daily plan and alter their normal decision making processes. Personal effects included role confusion due to the concurrent nurse/patient/significant other relationships resulting in exhaustion and guilt. All of these effects lead to alteration in stress levels experienced by the nurse as a consequence of caring for a significant other in the role of employment.