Monday, November 5, 2007

This presentation is part of : Cancer Care Issues
Searching for Meaning: Men's Construction of Their Illness Experience Following Laparoscopic Prostatectomy
Lorrie Powel, PhD, College of Nursing, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL, USA and Mary G. Harper, MSN, Education Department, Florida Hospital Memorial System, Ormond Beach, FL, USA.
Learning Objective #1: list the phases of the lived experience of men following laparoscopic prostatectomy for prostate cancer.
Learning Objective #2: discuss the role of personal identity and social support on men's lived experience following diagnosis of prostate cancer.

Purpose: This study explored the experience of men following laparoscopic prostatectomy as treatment for early prostate cancer.
Conceptual Basis: Self-regulation theory posits that individuals construct cognitive representations of their illness experience called schemata that allow them to make sense of their illness. These schemata form the framework from which illness-related assessments, plans, actions and evaluations are made. As such they play a part in an individual’s search for meaning.
Methodology: A semi-structured, open-ended interview protocol was used to conduct telephone interviews with five rural men between the ages of 50 and 69 who had undergone laparoscopic prostatectomy at least 12 months previously.  Transcribed data were translated into Ethnograph5.0TM to assist with coding and sorting. Codes were reviewed and revised by the principal investigator and a group of ten doctoral students. Constant comparison of data was conducted using methods informed by grounded theory. Initial codes were synthesized into categories that represented the phases of men’s experiences
Findings: Five distinct phases representative of the way these men constructed their illness experience emerged: discovering, deciding, treating, emerging, and reintegrating. Each phase was influenced by the individual’s personal identity and social support.

Conclusions: Data from this study will provide an opportunity to gain broader insight into the way in which men characterize the symptoms they experience after laparoscopic prostatectomy and how that informs their emotional adjustment. Further research on the lived experience of men with prostate cancer is needed to determine if men who opt for treatment options other than laparoscopic prostatectomy have a similar experience. Implications for Nursing:  Nurses are well positioned to provide care that is sensitive to the illness experience of men undergoing laparoscopic prostatectomy as treatment for prostate cancer.  Nurses should carefully examine the emotional journey that men go through in their efforts to make meaning of illness.