The Lived Experience of Iraqi Nurses who Live and Work in Communities Impacted by War or Terrorist Threat
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To describe the lived experiences of Iraqi nurses who have encountered continued threats of war or terrorism as both citizens and practitioners in Iraq between the country's 2003 liberation until the present.
Design and Methods
A qualitative, phenomenological approach was adopted. Giorgi's method guided the data analysis of ten interviews conducted with male Iraqi nurses over a one month period in 2014.
Two major themes emerged for the data. Living under the Shadow described the subthemes of impact on personal life, effects on physical well-being, influence on mental health and emotional well-being, impact on the delivery of nursing care, and the lost sense of personal safety. The second major theme captured the adaptation and resilience employed by Iraqi nurses to live and practice under conditions of continuous stress, including two corresponding subthemes of faith-based hope and ethical and professional commitment to nursing.
Threats to personal safety experienced by Iraqi nurses were comprehensive in nature, affecting all the facts of life. Those effects extended beyond the individual to family, community, and professional settings. Iraqi nurses drew upon faith-based hope as well as ethical and professional commitment to empower them to continue caring. Clinical Relevance Continual exposure to stress is not a rarity in nursing practice and can have deleterious effects for both patient and nurse. Recommendations include providing educational and support services to nurses to enhance resilience.
Nurses, Terrorism, Trauma, Sectarian Violence, War, PTSD, Spirituality, Resilience.