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An Interruption in Family Life: Siblings' Lived Experience as They Transition Through the Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Trajectory

Krista L. Wilkins

Roberta L. Woodgate

family, perceptions, children
ONF 2007, 34(2), E28-E35. DOI: 10.1188/07.ONF.E28-E35

Purpose/Objectives: To arrive at an understanding of the lived experience of healthy donor and nondonor siblings as they transition through the bone marrow transplantation (BMT) trajectory.

Research Approach: Qualitative study guided by the philosophy of hermeneutic phenomenology.

Setting: Participants' homes or the investigator's university or hospital office.

Participants: Eight siblings of pediatric BMT recipients were recruited based on their knowledge of the experience of transitioning through the BMT trajectory.

Methodologic Approach: Data were collected by semistructured, open-ended interviews; demographic forms; and field notes during a period of six months. Data analysis occurred concurrently with data collection. Thematic statements were isolated using Van Manen's selective highlighting approach. Interviews were reviewed repeatedly for significant statements.

Main Research Variable: Siblings' lived experience of the BMT trajectory.

Findings: Interruption in family life emerged as the essence of siblings' lived experience. Four themes supported this essence: life goes on, feeling more or less a part of a family, faith in God that things will be okay, and feelings around families.

Conclusions: Hermeneutic phenomenologic research increases understanding of what being a sibling of a pediatric BMT recipient means. This study is one of the few that have afforded siblings the opportunity to speak about what is important to them.

Interpretation: Findings from this study provide insight into how siblings live and cope throughout the BMT trajectory and will guide nurses as they seek to provide more sensitive and comprehensive care.

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