ABSTRACT INDONESIAN NURSES' EXPERIENCES OF CARING: A PHENOMENOLOGICAL STUDY IN A MULTICULTURAL-MULTI RELIGION COUNTRY The concept of caring differs across cultures, being unique to each patient due to differences in culture and context (Wikberg & Eriksson, 2008). Nurses need to maintain awareness of the possibility of culturally diverse behaviour among their patients. Within the hospital community, racial, cultural and religious matters cannot be entirely avoided by nurses. The absence of understanding of specific cultural, religious and spiritual beliefs and customs can lead to inappropriate or unfair treatment of those who are from minority ethnic groups (Samanta, 2012). This cultural and religious awareness is particularly critical in a country with a community as religiously and culturally diverse such as Indonesia. Nevertheless, despite the acknowledged diversity of the patient population, thus far there has been no critical examination of how Indonesian nurses manage caring for patient with the inherent challenges and barriers they experience. The aim of this study is to explore a deeper understanding of the lived experience of Indonesian nurses in caring for patients in a multicultural-multi religious country. In this interpretive hermeneutic phenomenological study, 20 nurses from two primary health centres and two hospitals were interviewed about their experiences in caring for diverse patients. Data analysis was completed utilising five phases of the hermeneutic circle elucidated by Crist and Tanner (2003) based on a Heideggerian philosophy-based approach. After the data were analyzed, three themes emerged reflecting the essence of what Indonesian nurses experienced: (1) barriers to caring in a heterogeneous society; (2) attitudes towards differences and similarities in patients' cultural and religious identities; (3) strategies in addressing cultural and spiritual issues. The findings reveal several barriers: barriers related to cultural issues, barriers related to spiritual issues and barriers related to workload issues. Barriers related cultural issues include family, language barriers, perceptions of illness and treatment, and traditional beliefs. This study indicates four types of attitude towards patients' diversity. These are describing-stereotyping, feelings of shared cultural ties with people from the same ethnicity or same local origins, trying to be fair and respecting differences. Three strategies were demonstrated in the research, including communication strategies, cultural approaches and spiritual support. This research enables a deeper insight into caring, particularly in heterogeneous societies. The research highlights how nurses can optimise supporting factors and overcome inhibiting factors in caring for their patients to develop quality nursing care.