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A Narrative Inquiry Into the Experience of Being a Victim of Gun Violence

Francis, Mary, PhD, RN, ACNP-BC

doi: 10.1097/JTN.0000000000000406

The purpose of this study was to gain a greater understanding of gun violence from the victim's personal story. The design for the study was narrative inquiry. Sixteen victims of gun violence were interviewed and asked to tell their story. The interview format comprised open-ended interview questions that encouraged participants to tell their stories. The method was narrative inquiry; the victims were encouraged to tell their story. The interview was recorded and transcribed. The transcripts of the interviews were the data for the study. Multiple readings allowed themes to emerge and provided a means of classifying the content. The data were organized by a categorical-content perspective as described by A. Lieblich, R. Tuval-Mashiach, and T. Zilber (1998). Four themes emerged that captured the study participants' experience: prevailing nature of everyday violence; feeling abandoned by the institutions of society; living in a context of reactive violence fueled by poverty; lack of employable skills and education; and evolving psychological effect following gun violence. The study provided insight into the personal experience of gun violence. Victims of gun violence experience challenges related to poverty, deficient educational preparation, and community neglect. The presence of gun violence in their neighborhoods has had an everlasting impact on their well-being. Gun violence is a major public health crisis. Thousands of people are killed or injured daily by guns. It is crucial that appropriate interventions be created. Partnerships between neighborhood leaders, health care professionals, and politicians need to be developed and fostered.

Eta Beta Chapter, Indianapolis, Indiana; School of Nursing, Widener University, Chester, Pennsylvania; and Trauma Division, Cooper University Hospital, Camden, New Jersey.

Correspondence: Mary Francis, PhD, RN, ACNP-BC, School of Nursing, Widener University, One University Place, Chester, PA 19013 (

The author declares no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2018 by the Society of Trauma Nurses.