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Nursing problems of the paraplegic patient as seen by the nurse Linstrom, Myrna

Abstract

A body of nursing knowledge in rehabilitation cannot be attained until the specific problems nurses encounter in their work are identified. The purpose of this study was the identification of some of the specific nursing problems in relation to the paraplegic. This study included interviews with seventeen nurses caring for paraplegics during the three stages of their rehabilitation, during the acute stage, during the time of intensive rehabilitation, and after returning to the community. A basically unstructured interview method was used, permitting the nurses a wide scope in identifying nursing problems they had encountered. The specific nursing problems were summarized within components of a typology developed during the study. A total of sixty-eight different specific nursing problems were identified a total of 247 times. The greatest number of different specific nursing problems, fourteen, were within the component of the typology of psychological-emotional problems. The psychological-emotional problem identified most frequently, twelve times, was that of trying to help the paraplegic face the future as a disabled person. The largest per cent of the total number of nursing problems identified, 35.22 per cent, were within the component of the typology of physical problems. The three most frequently identified nursing problems were within this component. These were, maintaining the bowel and bladder function, thirty-one times, maintaining the integrity of the skin, twenty times, and being alert for complications, sixteen times. The largest number of different nursing problems, thirty, and the greatest per cent of the total number of nursing problems, 63.56 per cent, concerned the paraplegic himself. Seventeen different nursing problems, 19.84 per cent of the total number of nursing problems identified, concerned the paraplegic's relationship to those outside of the health care system. There were sixteen different nursing problems, 12.96 per cent of the total number of nursing problems, concerned with the paraplegic's relationship to the health care system. The remaining 3.64 per cent of the total number of nursing problems, five different ones, concerned the paraplegic's inanimate surroundings. Research should be done to discover the best way of solving the specific nursing problems identified in this study. Many of them are currently being dealt with by intuition or trial and error, others are being ignored. It also would be well to discover what paraplegics identify as their needs or problems as they move through the various stages of the rehabilitation program. Nursing which is aimed at helping the paraplegic accomplish his goals should be alert to what he regards as his problems and help him arrive at a satisfactory solution to them.

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