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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/17749

Title: A Grounded Theory of Intensive Care Nurses’ Experiences and Responses to Uncertainty
Authors: Cranley, Lisa Anne
Advisor: Doran, Diane
Department: Nursing Science
Keywords: nurse, uncertainty, grounded theory, interviews, intensive care unit, decision making, information seeking
Issue Date: 23-Sep-2009
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to develop a theory to explain how nurses experience and respond to uncertainty arising from patient care-related situations and the influence of uncertainty on their information behaviour. Strauss and Corbin’s (1998) grounded theory approach guided the study. Semi-structured face-to-face interviews were conducted with 14 staff nurses working in an adult medical-surgical intensive care unit (MSICU) at one of two participating hospitals. The grounded theory recognizing and responding to uncertainty was developed from constant comparison analysis of transcribed interview data. The theory explicates recognizing, managing, and learning from uncertainty in patient care-related situations. Recognizing uncertainty involved a complex recursive process of assessing, reflecting, questioning and/or predicting, occurring concomitantly with facing uncertain aspects of patient care situations. Together, antecedent conditions and the process of recognizing uncertainty shaped the experience of uncertainty. Two main responses to uncertainty were physiological/affective responses and strategies used to manage uncertainty. Resolved uncertainty, unresolved uncertainty, and learning from uncertainty experiences were three consequences of managing uncertainty. The ten main categories of antecedent, actions and interactions, and consequences that comprised the theory were interrelated and connected through temporal and causal statements of relationship. Nurse, patient, and contextual factors were linked through patterns of conditions and intervening relational statements. Together, these conceptual relationships formed an explanatory theory of how MSICU nurses experienced and responded to uncertainty in their practice. This theory provides understanding of how nurses think through, act and interact in patient situations for which they are uncertain, and provides insight into the nature of the processes involved in recognizing and responding to uncertainty. Study implications for practice, nursing education, and further theory development and research are discussed.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/17749
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Lawrence S Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing - Doctoral theses

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