The Lived Experience of Percutaneous Injuries Among US Registered Nurses
The purpose of this study was to understand the lived experience and meanings of percutaneous injury (PI) and its aftermath among US registered nurses. An interpretive phenomenological approach was utilized to carry out the study which included nine percutaneous injury experiences. Van Manen's existential framework was used as a reflective guide. Findings from this study emerged as three essential themes which were common to all participants: being shocked: the potential of a serious or life-threatening infection; needing to know it's going to be okay; and sensing vulnerability. The first theme, being shocked, was identified as the primary mode of living with the sudden occurrence of PI. In the moment of injury, participants' language reflected shock and an immediate consciousness of the potential threat of a serious or life-threatening infection. Nurses' responses were visceral and emotional. All acted on their need to reduce foreign blood contamination and the urgency they felt for immediate care. Needing to know it's going to be okay represented the initial meaning of living in the aftermath of PI as nurses assessed their risk and sought post exposure intervention and caring responses from others. Sensing vulnerability was identified as the secondary mode of living in the aftermath of PI as participants reflected on the fragile nature of health into the future, distinguished between supportive vs. non-supportive relationships in their overall PI experience, and identified the need to be vigilant in the future with respect to their health, life and PI prevention. Together, these three essential themes and their dimensions represent the essence and meanings of percutaneous injury and its aftermath for at least one group of US registered nurses. Findings in this study support the conclusion that the lived experience of PIs and its aftermath imposed a significant psychological burden on nurses. These findings offer a better understanding of the essence and meanings of PI and its aftermath and contribute knowledge to inform nursing education, nursing practice, health policy and future research.