Living and Recovering from a Heart Attack in Montana: A Phenomenological Study
Myocardial infarction or heart attack claimed 221,000 lives in the United States annually. The purpose of this thesis is to gain a better understanding of the true meaning of living and recovering from a myocardial infarction. This thesis used the phenomenological approach, and explored the experiences of three individuals who had a myocardial infarction using Giorgi’s Method. Two males and one female who experienced a myocardial infarction within three to six months participated in the study. The data analysis revealed that recovery from myocardial infarction involved restructuring and adaptation in physical, social and emotional aspects of an individual's life which were dictated by society’s expectations of gender roles. Four themes of the immediate experience and recovery were identified: facing mortality, seeking normalcy, worrying about the financial burden, and seeking the female figure assurance. Nurses should recognize that males face the fears and anxiety of mortality and seek the support of a female significant other during the event of the myocardial infarction. Moreover, care of individuals who are living and recovering from a myocardial infarction should involve interventions that promote the individuals’ independence and self-reliance. Clinical nurses may use the finding of the study to further individualize care provided to those who had a myocardial infarction.