Women’s experiences of receiving a diagnosis and living with Hepatitis C




Zukowski, Phyllis Donna

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This research explores the lived experiences of what it means to women when they receive a diagnosis of Hepatitis C (HCV). The approach to guide the conversations is hermeneutic phenomenology. Phenomenological text can have the effect of making one suddenly “see” something in a way that enriches one’s everyday understanding of women’s lived experiences (van Manen, 1997a). The intent is to share the lived experience knowledge, embedded in stories women have shared, with nurses and health care professionals. The hope is that, through these stories, health-care providers will develop insights and understanding which informs compassionate and sensitive care for women who have HCV. This study involved in-depth tape recorded conversations with nine women who have been diagnosed with HCV. The transcribed conversations were analyzed following the steps of a nursing Gadamerian based research method (Fleming, Gaidys & Robb, 2003). Analysis of the conversations occurred with the hermeneutic rule of movement from the whole to the part and back to the whole (Gadamer cited in Fleming et. al). Each of the participant’s stories are described followed by identification of shared experiences giving insight into the phenomena of receiving a diagnosis and living with HCV. Women described: shock and disbelief, a need for information on how to take care of themselves, feeling they were treated like garbage, wondering how they could tell anyone they have this illness, receiving this diagnosis during a hugely fragile time, fears of infecting others, and concerns about being a mom with HCV. They relived past traumas of how they became infected by the virus.



Hepatitis C, women, Nursing