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Portraying hope. A study among women newly diagnosed with gynaecological cancer

Kristianna Hammer, RN,MScN,PhD 

The aim of the thesis Portraying hope among women with newly diagnosed gynaecological cancer is to examine hope experienced the day the woman get diagnosed with cancer. Hope is also closely linked to hopelessness, and the day you get a cancer diagnose can be a day of emotional chaos and a feeling that one has lost control over life. The feeling of hopelessness can easily appear.  However, precisely because hope is a part of life, hope is present, in one form or another.

Background

Helping a patient to find hope in illness and suffering is one of the cornerstones of humanistic-oriented nursing where also dignity, respect, integrity and caring are overarching values.  Knowledge of how patients themselves feel hope at the time of diagnosis will enhance the nursing knowledge base and will increase understanding and opportunities for clinical nurses. Cancer is a common and often life-threatening disease and also the word cancer have a stigmatizing meaning. Gynaecological cancer is one of the most frequent cancers among women. 

Methods

This qualitative study was carrying out at a surgical unit at a Danish University Hospital. The data collection is based both on interviews and drawings. Fifteen women, all diagnosed with gynaecological cancer, were interviewed the same day they received their diagnosis. Semi-structured interviews were chosen in order to investigate the informants lived experiences of hope. Data was analyzed using a phenomenological and a visual approach.

Results

In this thesis hope as collected in a synthesis showing three sides, an internal, an external and a commotional force are belonging together, and where hopelessness is seen as a dark shadow in a circumference of the triangle shaped design. The findings discovered of the close relationship between hope and hopelessness supports the need for nurses and other health care to supports patients find hope starting from time of diagnosis.

Synthesis

The living hope with the prism-like shape symbolizing the tree aspects og hope: spirits, energy and communion and with an every-threatening hopelessness trying to penetrate the living hope.

Hope is movable, perpetually in motion in a multidimensional tension field of hope and hopelessness, past, present and future and spirit, energy and communion.