Gaining understanding of advanced practice nurses in geriatrics using a Gadamerian approach
Examining the meanings of the experiences of advanced practice nurses (APNs) who have chosen to work with the elderly and why they continue to work with this population was the focus of this hcrmeneutic qualitative research study. A better understanding of how one can influence nursing students to pursue this specialty area as a clinical focus after graduation may be obtained by studying nurses who have chosen the clinical specialty of gerontological nursing.
Twelve gerontological APNs currently practicing in the state of Oklahoma and/or Texas were interviewed using an open-ended and exploratory questioning guide developed by the researcher. Participants were interviewed face-to-face and were audio-taped.
Using Gadamerian hermeneutics, this researcher identified Gerontology Found Me as the significant expression that reflected the fundamental meaning of the texts as a whole. Four themes emerged that further described the meanings of the participants' personal, educational, and professional experiences: Becoming a Gerontology Nurse, Being a Gerontology Nurse, Belonging to Gerontology, and Bringing Others to Gerontology . Subthemes were then identified within each theme, promoting a deeper understanding of the meaning of the experiences that were seminal to the APNs' decisions to work with the elderly.