Poster Presentation

Thursday, July 12, 2007
9:30 AM - 10:15 AM

Thursday, July 12, 2007
3:15 PM - 4:00 PM
This presentation is part of : Poster Presentation II
The experience of women a year or more following breast cancer and their understanding of the meaning of loneliness
Mary Rosedale, MS, APRN, CNAA1, Judith Haber, APRN, PhD, CS, FAAN1, Barbara Krainovich-Miller, EdD, APRN, BC1, Melanie Percy, PhD, RN, FAAN1, and Helen Speziale, EdD2. (1) College of Nursing, New York University, New York, NY, USA, (2) Division of Nursing, College Misericordia, Dallas, PA, USA
Learning Objective #1: describe the ongoing experience of women a year or more following breast cancer.
Learning Objective #2: discuss the ways in which health care providers see, treat and influence the experience of loneliness for women in the aftermath of breast cancer treatment.

It is essential to understand the long term nature of women’s experiences following breast cancer.  This project makes an original contribution to nursing/health care because there is a paucity of literature concerning women’s experiences in the long term aftermath of breast cancer treatment and loneliness that has never been explicitly investigated from the perspective of women following breast cancer. Themes of isolation, abandonment, social losses, search for meaning, lack of reality validation, changes in cognitive self appraisal; personal and social resources have been noted following breast cancer, representing a gap in the literature.  Consistent with an evidence-based practice (EBP) paradigm, this qualitative study generates ideas that drive further research and instrument development for examining the long term experience of women following breast cancer and the meaning of loneliness in this population.  The study uses Streubert’s (1991) nurse-developed phenomenological method, providing further information regarding the utility of the method for expanding the existing body of theoretical knowledge and extending Nursing’s discipline-specific knowledge.  Analysis of open-ended interviews are conducted.  Additionally, women are encouraged to share expressive works (e.g., journals, poetry) that illustrate an aspect of their experience and to explore their meanings in interviews.  This study describes women themselves as they give voice to their experiences and shed light on whether terms like “survivor” usefully portray what they undergo or alternatively, isolate women from expressing other aspects and dimensions of the experience.  It places women’s meanings of loneliness in context with both historical perspectives and contemporary understandings of meaning.  Nursing science can inform the lives of women with breast cancer, the providers who care for them and the larger societies within which they both live.  The first step in building that science and beginning a program of research requires that we ask women to inform us about their experience.