Decay, transformation, and growth: meaning-making processes of patients with acute leukemia within the first year after diagnosis or relapse

Constantina Papadopoulou, Bridget Johnston, Markus Themessl-Huber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


PURPOSE/OBJECTIVES: To explore the processes through which patients construct their meanings of acute leukemia (AL).

RESEARCH APPROACH: An exploratory design was employed using serial, in-depth interviews, guided by Smith's Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis approach.

SETTING: Two inpatient hematology clinics in the United Kingdom.

PARTICIPANTS: 10 adult patients with AL. 

METHODOLOGIC APPROACH: Two serial interviews were conducted with each participant, two to four weeks apart, within the first year of diagnosis or post-relapse.

FINDINGS: AL creates a state of imbalance, which may initiate a search for new equilibrium. Patients' journeys toward making sense of their illness may involve three interchangeable processes.

CONCLUSIONS: Findings of this contextually and methodologically novel study highlight the complex nature of sense-making for patients experiencing AL.

INTERPRETATION: Nurses can take valuable lessons on how to manage the invisibility of AL, enhance trust in healthcare professionals, address the impact of isolation, and facilitate the making-sense processes of patients in ways that favor their short- and long-term psychosocial adjustment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E73-E81
Number of pages9
JournalOncology nursing forum
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016



  • Acute Disease
  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leukemia
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Qualitative Research
  • United Kingdom
  • Comparative Study
  • Journal Article

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