2011 Helene Hudson Lectureship: Lived experiences of nurses as family caregivers in advanced cancer

Lisa Cicchelli, Deborah McLeod


Research regarding experiences of nurses caring for family members with a cancer diagnosis is limited. To address this gap, a hermeneutic phenomenology approach was used to explore lived experiences of five nurses caring for family members living with advanced cancer. Their experiences were fraught with tensions and conflicts as they balanced the roles of nurse and caregiver. At the heart of their experiences was a sense of being caught in a web of conflicting expectations. Their struggles of expectations stemmed from anticipating the illness trajectory, expectations from family, expectations from other health professionals, and expectations from the nurse caregivers of themselves. Conflict between their professional and personal lives was most challenging. Implications of this care-giving situation are described.

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