A nurse's experience caring for a patient with breast cancer who had been previously reported dead by her family

Chia Yun Fu, Ming Feng Tsai, Hsing Mei Chen

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1 Citation (Scopus)


This article describes the author's experience caring for a female with breast cancer who was reported dead by her family four years earlier due to a long-term disappearance. She had been transferred multiple times hospital to hospital due to inability to afford medical care. Data were collected via observations, interviews, and physical assessments. The author identifed four primary problems, including impaired tissue integrity, pain, being compelled to abandon treatment due to fnancial status, desire for familial support, and sense of guilt toward her family. The author used Watson's Caring Theory to build trust with the patient and provided guidance on wound treatment, pain relief, and rebuilding family relationships in order to help restore the patient's identity and fnancial aid. As a result, the patient was able to transfer to a public hospital where she received free medical assistance and regained hope in her therapy. However, the palliative-care coordinator misinterpreted the referral and, as a result, experienced moral distress. After clarifying and explaining the meaning and importance of the patient referral, the coordinator accepted her and continued care. This case report can provide a reference for nurses caring for patients without personal identity or fnancial aid. Nurses should be aware of the presence of moral distress in other medical team members. Early recognition and timely management of team members' moral distress is fundamental to providing the best quality of care for patients and their families.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-96
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nursing
Issue number3 SUPPL.
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Jun 27

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nursing(all)


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