Albany Medical Center, USA
Louis Filhour has held executive positions as CNO and COO for more than 20 years. Although he is now the CEO for a system of hospitals and providers trying to transform care for the Medicaid population, he is also contributing to the science supporting the practice of professional nursing through his research. Working at a busy Level 1 trauma peaked his interest in the experience of suffering. He holds nursing degrees from Baylor University, Boston College, and the University of Phoenix.
Suff ering is a subjective human experience that is both complex and unique. Although relieving suff ering is a goal for nursing, the phenomenon of suff ering is poorly understood and even goes unrecognized. Using a phenomenological design, the researcher explored the question of what is the experience of suff ering as voiced by male patients seven to twelve months aft er hospitalization for blunt trauma. Seventeen male volunteers were interviewed and asked questions about how they suff ered, what made their suff ering more or less bearable, and how they were transformed through their suff ering. Participants experienced changes in patterns resulting in a perception of suff ering. Participants reported mostly experiencing physical, emotional, and social forms of suff ering while fewer experienced economic and spiritual suff ering. Experiences of suff ering resulted from the threat to their normal state or sense of wholeness because of their injuries. Intrinsic and extrinsic factors were identifi ed making the participants’ suff ering more or less bearable as they regained their lost state of normal. Positive attitude and motivation were signifi cant intrinsic factors while quality supportive care was the most signifi cant extrinsic factor. Poor quality care was a signifi cant negative extrinsic factor resulting in experiences of increased suff ering. Th rough their experiences of suff ering the participants were transformed, amending their previous state of normal. Knowledge gained through this phenomenological study may be useful to nurses in guiding their care to alleviate patients’ suff ering.