Most studies on hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) have focused on patients, survivors, or their family members, such as siblings and parents. Little attention has been paid to nurses caring for HSCT pediatric patients and in particular in a Taiwanese context.
The objective of this study was to explore nurses’ lived experience caring for HSCT children in isolation within a general pediatric ward.
A Husserlian phenomenological approach informed the exploration of the meaning and essence of the nurses’ caring experience. Data were collected using semistructured interviews.
Twelve nurses were interviewed. Analysis of interviews yielded 3 main themes: being worried about ruining transplantation success, feeling loss of control in handling suffering, and reflecting upon the value of HSCT.
Nurses felt the stress of caring for HSCT children because of the heavy workload and the pressure of responsibility. Witnessing the suffering of patients/families was particularly stressful. However, nurses were helped to overcome this stress by looking at the value and meaning of HSCT.
Nurses need practical support from nursing leaders in terms of carefully organizing patient care, controlling the nurse-to-patient ratio, and offering a safe work environment by providing systematic formal training on HSCT and receiving proper supervision. Understanding and learning are gained from nurses who are able to seek meaning from HSCT through appreciating every caregiving effort and through valuing how their nursing role contributes to the quality of patients’ care.
Author Affiliations: Department of Nursing, HungKuang University, Taiwan (Drs Huang and Wang); School of Nursing and Midwifery, Research Centre for Clinical & Community Practice Innovation, Griffith University, Australia (Dr Kellett); and Departments of Nursing, Taichung Veterans General Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan (Mss Chang and Chih).
The authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to disclose.
Correspondence: Hui-Min Chih, RN, Department of Nursing, Taichung Veterans General Hospital, No. 160, Sec. 3, Chung-Kang Rd, Taichung, Taiwan, Republic of China 40705 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Accepted for publication August 13, 2013.