Background: Hospital services currently undergo major changes with an increasing number of patients treated in outpatient settings. However, nurses´ perception of practicing nursing in outpatient clinics is only sparsely described.

Aim: To identify nurses´ perceptions practicing nursing in outpatient settings.

Method: An interview study based on interviews with six nurses. The method is inspired by hermeneutics and interview analysis according to Kvale and Brinkmann.

Results: Nurses in outpatient settings reported an increased focus on instrumental nursing and they perceived barriers in practicing relational nursing.

Conclusion: Nurses perceived barriers to practicing nursing caused by the dominating biomedical perspective and productivity-driven management systems in healthcare. Moreover, nurses in outpatient settings constituted a barrier themselves by only documenting instrumental nursing and assessing nursing professionalism and independence using terms originating from biomedicine. Relational nursing in outpatient settings thus remains invisible and the complexity of outpatient nursing is not acknowledged.

Keywords: outpatient settings, nursing perspective, practicing nursing, relational nursing, interview