Interpretive description is a research strategy which guides researchers through all the phases of a qualitative research process. The strategy acknowledges object neutrality and object theorizing as components of equal importance and value in the production of results which are academically credible and clinically practical. In this article, we introduce interpretive description and outline the steps of conceiving, designing, and implementing coherent research capable of generating new insight into clinical settings. We focus on the theoretical account as well as the practical implementation and briefly discuss the possibilities and limitations of the strategy of studying clinical problems.
Background: Patients with advanced cancer often experience loss of appetite and anorexia, which are symptoms with several unpleasant physical and psychosocial implications.
Aim: To explore how Danish patients and their partners experience and handle the loss of appetite in everyday life, and subsequently which kind of help they need and receive.
Method: Qualitative interviews with three patients and their partners were conducted and analysed according to interpretive description.
Findings: The loss of appetite added significant changes to everyday life for the patients and their partners, and influenced the interaction between them. Five core themes were identified: 1) From pleasant and enjoyable mealtimes, to meals you want to get over with as quickly as possible, 2) Changes in the social interaction with others, 3) Wanting to do one’s best, 4) The partner’s double role, and 5) The need for companionship. Our analysis and interpretation of the themes revealed the most significant characteristics of the changes in everyday life of the couples.
Conclusion: The interpretive description of the couples’ altered everyday life pinpoints central areas that may lead to further supportive healthcare. It demonstrates how the healthy partner feels responsible for trying to get their sick partner to eat something, how this responsibility is perceived as a burden, and how the strong desire to get the sick partner eating can complicate the interaction between the two.
Clinical implication: We recommend that health care professionals put more effort into supportive interventions and focus on the couples’ ability to cope with the difficulties handling the food, the meals and the loss of appetite in everyday life.
Interruptions in clinical nursing practice is a well-known but implicit phenomenon no studies yet have shed light on in a professional nursing context.
The aim of this study is to describe and discuss interruptions as they occur and as they are being experienced in clinical nursing practice.
A qualitative study inspired by field research based on participant observations and interviews.
Interruptions are seen as coming from the outside and being self-inflicted and as necessary and unnecessary, in different rooms and contexts in relation to different collaborators and tasks. Interruptions are experienced as a dilemma between being accessible and focused.
Interruptions are a natural part of clinical nursing practice. The dilemma between being accessible and focused is the ability to maintain a professional relation and at the same time be focused on quality and efficiency. The ability to be in this field of tension and prevent that nursing practice is polluted by unnecessary interruptions, involves the ability of the nurse to see-the-big-picture.
The practicing of relief and alleviation is one of the core tasks in nursing. The article describes and discusses the implications of relief and alleviation in nursing and how the concept can be understood and defined. The methods used for clarification are concept analysis and concept clarification. Defining and discussing the importance of key concepts in nursing is an important activity and a continuous process within the nursing profession. First, the concept is clarified according to descriptions in documents within the nursing profession and definitions in nursing theories. Secondly, relief and alleviation are described through empirical studies on the basis of patients’ experiences with receiving relief and alleviation and on nurses’ perception of providing relief and alleviation. Finally, a theoretical analysis was made of the concept Presence, which appeared to be one of the most important concepts in defining the characteristics of alleviation and relief in nursing. The purpose of this analysis was to obtain a better understanding of the implications for alleviation and relief in nursing practice.
Research work about life and death in nursing homes often deal with the perspectives of either the residents, the relatives, or the professionals. Hence, it may be difficult to obtain knowledge about the differences between the respective needs of the residents and the relatives as compaired to the care provided in everyday life and at death. The aim of the study is to describe the similarities and differences between notions and experiences of death by the residents, their relatives, and the professionals and to discuss the clinical consequences. The method applied was qualitative interviews with both residents, relatives, and professionals, and the study had an everyday life theoretical approach. The residents expressed notions on worries about death, but their relatives and the professionals had no knowledge of this. As opposed to the relatives, the residents did not formulate expectations regarding the qualifications of the professionals. The relatives’ expectations were in the span of knowledge on expert to common level. Regardless, the relatives expected the professionals to be able to assess when death was near, but the professionals discovered an absence of knowledge on this area.
Several studies about Danish patients suffering from advanced cancer indicate that nurses hardly ever involve the patients’ perspective and thereby the patients’ experienced suffering in the development of nursing diagnosis or in praxis. The aim of the study was to describe which impact a systematic introduction and supervision about M. Gordon’s idea on nursing diagnosis would have on the numbers of nursing diagnosis that included the patients’ perspective and thereby the patients suffering. The numbers of nursing diagnosis that included the patients’ perspective increased from 18% out of 4,902 diagnoses to 58% out of 1,306 diagnoses. Simultaneously the amount of nursing diagnoses decreased with 40%.
Our experience is that it is a long and demanding process to develop a culture and praxis in which the ideals about focusing on the patients’ suffering is implemented. It demands a continuously critical and constructive hard work with regard to resources, priorities, organisation and the performance of nursing.