The purpose of this paper is to describe the phenomenon of consolation as this appears in nursing literature. The understanding of consolation has been developed from an interpretation of a letter on consolation from Søren Kierkegaard to his sick sister-in-law.

A search in professional databases resulted in 20 articles where the phenomenon of consolation was described. The phenomenon of consolation was interpreted in a hermeneutic circle from the 20 articles to provide a description of the phenomenon.

The results revealed that the nurse can console the patient in a process of communion with her/him. It appears that the patient receiving consolation experiences an inner process. After experiencing loss, impairment, despair or threats of these, the patient seems to be receptive to consolation, and shows signs of openness. A nurse can guide a patient to find hope and courage. It appears that there is a process for consolation which is described as linear, but which will, in a real life experience, not be linear.