By combining research on constructs that define quality nursing care with interviews with 16 patients with advanced illness, a concept of quality nursing care for this population was created. Competence, personal care, professionalism, and a professional demeanour were all attributes of high-quality nursing care. Even though competence, caring, professionalism, and demeanour were found to be common characteristics of high-quality care for a variety of patient populations, the caring domain gained importance when patients with advanced illness felt vulnerable. Patients' perceptions of vulnerability must be taken into account when evaluating the quality of nursing care they receive for advanced illnesses.
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