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J Clin Nurs. 2008 Nov;17(21):2820-8.

Enhancing pregnant, donor oocyte recipient women's health in the infertility clinic and beyond: a phenomenological investigation of caring behaviour.

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College of Nursing and College of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60612, USA.



To describe pregnant, donor oocyte recipient women's perceptions of the essence of caring behaviour among nurses and other healthcare providers who they encountered in the clinic environment.


Despite the ever increasing use of donor oocytes to treat infertility worldwide, little is known about the caring behaviour of nurses and other healthcare providers that support and enhance the health of pregnant, donor oocyte recipient women.


Qualitative, descriptive interviews.


A Husserlian phenomenological approach.


Eight women participated in a larger phenomenological study that examined the lived experience of pregnant, donor oocyte recipient women. Five components of caring behaviour among nurses and other healthcare providers emerged from the in-depth interviews with the women and were: being available, providing communication, exhibiting compassion, demonstrating competency and promoting empowerment. Being available was described when the participants had ongoing access to or were humanly present with nurses. The ability of nurses to provide communication and education about complex information was perceived as supportive. Nurses exhibited compassion through words and behaviours that expressed empathy and a deep understanding of the women's experience. Competency was demonstrated when a healthy pregnancy was achieved and maintained and through behaviours where a high level of technical and ethical knowledge and skill was observed. Empowerment occurred when nurses encouraged the women to engage in aspects of decision making and when a sense of control over infertility treatment and obstetrical care was promoted.


For donor oocyte recipient women, caring behaviour in the clinic environment consists of five essential components. The findings support a link between empowerment and the concept of caring. Relevance to clinical practice. The dense empirical description of the women's perceptions of caring behaviour are directly applicable to clinical practice, delineating areas for improvement and providing specific data driven interventions including the development of a 'hope box'.

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