Public Defence: Jeanette Varpen Unhjem

M.Sc. Jeanette Varpen Unhjem at Institute of Health and Society will be defending the thesis “Nurses' experiences of professional boundaries in mental health care” for the degree of PhD (Philosophiae Doctor).

Foto: Arild J. Waagbø/Panorama

Trial Lecture – time and place

See Trial Lecture.

Adjudication committee

  • First opponent: Docent Alain Topor, Stockholm University
  • Second opponent: Dean Anders Johan Wickstrøm Andersen, University of Agder
  • Third member and chair of the evaluation committee: Scientist Wenche Schrøder Bjorbækmo, University of Oslo

Chair of the Defence

Kristin Margrete Heggen, University of Oslo

Principal Supervisor

Professor Solfrid Vatne, Molde University College


Professional boundaries are necessary to establish and maintain therapeutic relationships between patients and healthcare professionals. The purpose of the study was to explore nurses’ perceptions of and experiences with being professional, personal, and private in nurse-patient relationships in mental health care. The study was a qualitative multisite study with source triangulation. Sixteen nurses who worked in mental health care partook in participant observation, individual interviews and focus group interviews. The study’s results are presented in three papers reporting that the nurses perceived being professional, personal, and private as interconnected and depending on particular nurse-patient relationships situated in specific contexts. Based on these results, the discussion questions whether professional boundaries are a personal responsibility, and examines the power and predicaments of a personal approach. The study supports and adds to earlier research from different disciplines that acknowledges diverse reasons for self-disclosure, the many dilemmas of dual relationships and the emphasis on the importance of context in decisions related to professional boundaries. 

Additional information

Contact the research support staff.

Published Mar. 25, 2019 3:15 PM - Last modified Mar. 25, 2019 3:15 PM