Nurses' experiences of caring for bariatric patients

Whitfield, Paulette J.
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Obesity is increasing worldwide and is so pervasive in the United States as to be classified an epidemic. Obese persons are discriminated against in all aspects of their lives including health care. Although research has demonstrated that nurses exhibit prejudicial attitudes toward obese patients, it is not known if this prejudice extends to obese patients who undergo surgery for weight loss. The purpose of this hermeneutic phenomenology qualitative study was to understand and interpret the phenomenon of nurses' experiences of caring for postoperative bariatric patients. Eleven nurses who took care of postoperative bariatric patients were interviewed. Colaizzi's model of data analysis was used to explore nurses' experiences.

Two themes were revealed during data analysis. Getting up for the first time and Negotiating with families constituted these themes. Nurses' stories of their experiences of caring for postoperative bariatric surgery patients revealed the arduous challenges of caring for this patient group. The challenges consisted of power struggles between nurses, patients, and families over getting up for the first time and unsupportive family behaviors. Recommendations are offered for nursing research, education, practice, and social awareness.

Health and environmental sciences, Bariatric, Phenomenology, Colaizzi's model, Nurses' experiences, Obesity