Student Nurses' Experiences: Being a Family Caregiver

Tuesday, 13 July 2010: 10:50 AM

Gulsah Kok, RN, MSc
Obstetrics & Gyneacology Nursing Department, Gulhane Military Medical Academy, Ankara, Turkey
Sevgi Hatipoglu, PhD, RN
School of Nursing, Gulhane Military Medical Academy, Ankara, Turkey

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to determine the meaning of "being a family caregiver" in terms of the student nurses.

Learning Objective 2: "Being a caregiver" who is closely family members of the patient may change from one culture to another.


Caregivers who are usually close family members, are allowed to stay with their patients for their needs during hospitalizations at clinics in Turkey. The aim of this study was to explore the meaning of “being a family caregiver”  through the perceptions of first year student nurses.


Qualitative study using a descriptive phenomenological approach. It was carried out in School of Nursing, Gulhane Military Medical Academy with nine first year student nurses. Data were obtained through open-ended, in-depth, and audio-taped interviews which lasted approximately 35–45 minutes. Two questions were used; “What does it mean “being  a family caregiver”?, What do you experience as a family caregiver at clinics?”.

Results: Three themes emerged from the data analysis:
1.      worries about the patient and process of illness
“I think that but I can’t decide: which one is more difficult for us? To stay on bed as a
patient or to expect her wellness by praying…”
            2.   what can I do for my patient’s needs
            “I believe that I have to to do my best for my patient unreservedly by not suffering or getting tired of anything…”
            3.   expectations from the health professionals
           “The nurses and the doctors recorded every heartbeat and respiration of my patient. It was like that everybody worked for her. Hopefully I waited for the nurses to record  my heartbeat too.. But they never…”


This described as more difficult time for the student nurses during hospitilization process as they were afraid of losing their loved ones. It is important for nurses to understand the multidimensional impact of patients’ family members in the process illness and hospitalization. Because a dialogue with the family members is recommended in order to give support to their patients during hospitalization and recovery.