As a Nurse in the Family: Three Women's Stories of What it Means for a Female Nurse to be a Caregiver to a Family Member Who is Ill, Elderly or with an Enduring Illness
In this research three female registered nurses relived their experiences of being caregiver to a family member who was ill, elderly or with an enduring illness and explored whether they chose, or felt obligated, to assume the role of caregiver because they were nurses. This research was an exploratory descriptive study utilising narrative as inquiry and the method of story-telling. It is women-centered, taking into account the unpaid role of caregiving within families most often fulfilled by women, due to habitual gender bias. The stories of the participants Marie, Polly and Frances (pseudonyms) were audiotaped, transcribed and analysed using core story creation and emplotment. At the end of each story emerging themes were identified and compared for similarities and uniqueness, then simplified through the use of diagrams. Four main themes were identified and renamed to highlight research findings - these were the culture of nursing, silence of the nurses, emotional cloudiness, and the natural role of the nurse. Through this study it is hoped that nurses will be more aware of the impact their caregiving roles have had on their lives. The importance in acknowledging the effects of caregiving, relevance of informing employers to promote supportiveness, implications for workforce development and recognising the loss of objectivity in caring when emotions are involved, are identified in this research. Further indepth research about these concepts would be a valuable contribution to the nursing profession and ideas for future research have been identified.