The experience of nurses caring for HIV-positive injection drug users

Ming Chu Feng, Tun Chieh Chen, Chiu Chu Lin, Chung Ching Shih, Nai Ying Ko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Taiwan has experienced a clear upswing in HIV infection among injection drug users (IDUs) since 2004. Unsafe drug injection behavior has led to complicated infections including HIV and hepatitis C virus infection among IDUs. Nurses face challenges and threats in caring for this group due to the widespread criminal and behavioral problems related to drug use. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore nurses' experiences in caring for HIV positive IDUs. Purposive sampling was used to recruit 7 nurses with experience working with HIV positive IDUs. In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted 1-2 times with each nurse. The length of interviews ranged from 1.5-3 hours. Interviews were tape recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data was analyzed using the Colaizzi method for phenomenology. Nurse experiences reflected low achievement level, difficulty in establishing rapport with IDUs, fear of drug use incidences during hospitalization, insufficiency and complications with family caregivers, fear of being threatened, and lack of support from other medical disciplines. Nurses used strategies that included being supportive of one another, learning appropriate communication skills, positive thinking, and anticipating substantial compensation from administrators. The results of this study provide essential information for in-service education and healthcare policy reform on IDU care. Interventions to ease nurse anxieties and feelings of insecurity in order to increase safe care should be developed and implemented. Positive feedback from IDUs with HIV infection enhances nurses' professional and personal growth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-36
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Nursing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Aug

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nursing(all)


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