A Qualitative Approach to Understanding Patients' Diagnosis of Lyme Disease

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Journal of Public Health Nursing


Lyme disease, phenomenology


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to explore the lived experience of becoming diagnosed with Lyme disease.

Design: A qualitative, phenomenological study was conducted to investigate the experience of becoming diagnosed with Lyme disease.

Sample: A purposive sample of 10 participants diagnosed with Lyme disease were interviewed and tape‐recorded. Data saturation guided the size of the sample.

Methods: The interviews were transcribed verbatim. Key words or phrases were extracted and clustered; clusters were interpreted into themes. Analyzed data were confirmed with the participants for trustworthiness and reliability.

Results: Six themes emerged from the interviews. Participants expressed feelings of frustration during the long road to diagnosis. They endured multiple diagnostic tests and were seen by numerous health care providers. Participants voiced financial stress. They expressed the need for self‐advocacy and felt validation when a diagnosis was made. Despite the chronicity of their illness, the participants voiced a sense of hopefulness for their future.

Conclusion: A deep understanding of the lived experience of becoming diagnosed with Lyme disease allows for nurses to prioritize health care interventions and strategize ways to implement quality improvement systems as clients enter the health care environment.


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