Date of Award

Fall 1980

Degree Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Nursing

First Advisor

McLane, Audrey

Second Advisor

DiMotto, Jean

Third Advisor

Lancour, Jane

Abstract

The purpose of the study was to (1) ascertain patients' perceptions of the sensory (tactile) and distress components of suctioning and (2) relate them to the dissonance reported by patients. A convenience sample of 14 patients was obtained from four acute care hospitals in a large midwestern city during a seven-month period. The criteria for inclusion in the study were: the patients must (1) be alert and oriented, (2) have had a tracheostomy, a tracheal stoma, an endo- or naso-tracheal tube for a minimum of 48 hours and not more than 16 days, (3) be 16 to 80 years of age, (4) be able to read, write, and understand English, and (5) have been suctioned at least three times. A seven-item semi-structured questionnaire was used for data collection. A pilot study was conducted and appropriate revisions were made before commencing data collection. Time required for completion of the questionnaire was estimated at ten minutes. Analysis of the data revealed that patients' perceptions of the sensory (tactile) and distress components of suctioning varied. Nine subjects gave actual sensory (tactile) descriptions of suctioning·. Eleven subjects identified associated physiological reflexes and two subjects gave mechanical descriptions of the suctioning procedure. One-half of the sample (n=l4) described the suctioning in positive terms; they referred to the suctioning as helping their breathing and as being a great relief. Four subjects described distress, that is, they described the suctioning as uncomfortable, strange, or terrible. Three subjects were ambivalent - they described the suctioning in both positive and negative terms. When asked to rate how stressful the suctioning was, one-half of the sample, seven subjects, rated the suctioning as only slightly or moderately distressing . The remainder of the sample scattered their ratings. Eight subjects said the suctioning experience was different than expected. Four of these subjects said the suctioning experience was better than expected; four said it was worse than expected. There did not appear to be any relationship between the reported dissonance and the categories of descriptors of physical sensations or the reported amounts of distress. However, there did appear to be some relationship between the reported dissonance and the categories of descriptors of stress. Three out of four subjects who said the suctioning was better than expected described the stress associated with suctioning in positive terms. Three out of f our subjects who said the suctioning was worse than expected described distress. Implications for clinical nursing practice as well as recommendations for further research were discussed.

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