The words 'nurse' and 'nursing' originate in the word 'nurture' which dates back to the 14th century. 'Nurturance' appeared for the first time in the 1976 Supplement to the Oxford English Dictionary and in a United States dictionary in 1983. Etymologically and semantically bound to nursing, little is known about the term nurturance. An exploratory design using phenomenological analysis was applied to understand the female registered nurses' experience of nurturing patients throughout the life-span and to uncover behaviours commonly believed nurturant. Interviews with 14 RNs practising in diverse settings revealed 39 nurturant behaviours that were intuited into four themes describing the subjects' perceived structure of nurturance as: (1) enabling maximum potential; (2) providing physical and emotional protection; (3) engaging in a supportive interaction; and (4) conveying shared humanity. Data were formulated into an exhaustive description of the phenomenon nurturance. Additionally, the results support Greenberg-Edelstein's theoretical model of the positive reciprocity of nurturance between nurse and patient.