Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Giving a voice to patient experiences through the insights of pragmatism

Deering, Kris; Williams, Jo; Stayner, Kay; Pawson, Chris

Giving a voice to patient experiences through the insights of pragmatism Thumbnail


Kris Deering
Senior Lecturer in Mental Health Nursing

Jo Williams
Senior Lecturer in Mental Health Nursing

Kay Stayner


As a philosophical position, pragmatism can be critiqued to distinguish truth only with methods that bring about desired results, predominantly with scientific enquiry. The article hopes to dismiss this oversimplification and propose that within mental health nursing, enquiry enlightened by pragmatism can be anchored to methods helping to tackle genuine human problems. Whilst pragmatists suggest one reality exists, fluctuating experiences and shifting beliefs about the world can inhabit within; hence, pragmatists propose reality has the potential to change. Moreover, pragmatism includes being cognisant of what works to whom reality concerns, making reality context‐driven, with a view to understand how actions shape experiences so what is generated has usefulness. Hence, it somewhat follows pragmatism can inform mental health nursing, after all, nursing is a discipline of action, and awareness is needed in how actions produce experiences that patients find helpful. Given the principles of recovery are preferably adopted in mental health care, the paper will explore how pragmatism can help nurses move towards that goal; specifically, with patients voicing their experiences. This is because like pragmatism, recovery subscribes to hope that reality can progress, and through meaningful experiences and beliefs, patients have expertise about personal difficulties alongside how life may flourish, despite mental illness.


Deering, K., Williams, J., Stayner, K., & Pawson, C. (2021). Giving a voice to patient experiences through the insights of pragmatism. Nursing Philosophy, 22(1),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 4, 2020
Online Publication Date Sep 20, 2020
Publication Date Jan 1, 2021
Deposit Date Sep 23, 2020
Publicly Available Date Sep 24, 2020
Journal Nursing Philosophy
Print ISSN 1466-7681
Electronic ISSN 1466-769X
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 22
Issue 1
Article Number e12329
Keywords Issues, ethics and legal aspects; General Medicine; Research and Theory
Public URL
Additional Information Received: 2020-05-26; Accepted: 2020-09-04; Published: 2020-09-20


You might also like

Downloadable Citations