UBC Theses and Dissertations
Meanings and interpretations attributed to alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence by medical and surgical nurses : an interpretive descriptive study Perry, Heather Ann
The purpose of this study was to explore the meanings and interpretations attributed to alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence as described by medical and surgical nurses practicing in an acute care facility. The study was undertaken to understand more about alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence, as these often remains unrecognized, undiagnosed, and untreated by health care professionals. Nine nurses were interviewed to gain an understanding of their perspectives and to develop insight into their experiences nursing patients using alcohol at risk levels. An interpretive descriptive qualitative approach was used for data analysis, and five major themes and twelve sub-themes emerged from the findings of the study. The themes and sub-themes were representative of the nurses' experiences of screening and assessing patients for at-risk alcohol use, and of the nurses' experiences of caring for patients who were alcoholdependent. As part of the discussion of the study findings, a 'story' was created to represent a nurse-patient relationship such as typically occurs during a hospitalization experience. The major themes and sub-themes were discussed in the context of the various sections or stages in this 'story'; they were considered in relation to: the necessity and importance of establishing a nurse-patient relationship; the lack of consensus regarding theoretical perspectives of alcohol dependence; the occurrence of unanticipated alcohol withdrawal and subsequent safety issues for the patient and nurse; and patient teaching initiatives regarding at-risk alcohol use. The study findings offer insight into the practice setting and the challenges that nurses may experience when nursing patients using alcohol at risk levels. These findings have implications for nursing practice, administration, nursing education, and research, to support medical and surgical nurses in meeting the complex health care needs of patients using alcohol at risk levels.
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