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The uncertain journey, women's supportive-educative experiences following a myocardial infarction

by Doiron, Nancy E.

Abstract (Summary)
Cment literature indicates that women, and society in gcneral, do not see comnary heart disease (CHD) as a senous concem for woir.en. This lack of recognition seems, in part, to be related to a lack of research involving women as participants and in developing nursing knowledge specific to women and CHD. There is evidence in literature to suggest that men's and women's experiences with CHD differ. Although existing literature provides valuable insight into cardiac recovery, it does not clearly explore womeo's perceptions of theu experiences in the early home convalescent recovery pmcess following a myocardial infarction (MI). By employing an interpretive inquiry through the process of qualitative feminist research, this study reports on the supportive-educative experiences of eight English speaking women, ages 33-6 1, in their early recovery process following an M 1. Inductively generated data analysis has provided a means to understand the process of recovery fiom the perspective of these participants. Although each participant's expenence was unique, extensive thematic analysis of the data revealed sirnilarities in their recovery processes, as evident by emerging themes. Inherent in the participants' words, as they discussed their jo!rmeys with recoveiy, was an overwhelrning sense of uncertainty while living with heart disease. For these women, their socially constructed knowledge dictated that women, and in particular, young women, did not experience heart attacks, and was, therefore, in conflict with their realities. The contradiction between the 'tniths leamed fiom others' and their MI experiences influenced, and was influenced by, the subsequent emerging themes of a 'rude awakeniag', 'disconnected knowing', and 'reconnecting self. Feminist research challenges tradition and offers nursing an opportunity to explore and investigate issues of importance to our profession in a different way. Based on the results of this study, substantial implications for nursing education, research and practice emerge and are discussed. Nurses, as well as other health care professionals, need to be aware of the social construction of cardiac illness and women's expenences, as this knowledge has great implications for patient care fkom prevention to rehabilitation within the cardiac experience. Nurses are in a pivotal position to potentiate change in the delivery of hez!& care to women, and ultimately, to facilitate women's efforts to maxirnize their well-being while living with heart disease.
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Source Type:Master's Thesis

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Date of Publication:01/01/1998

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