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THE LIVED EXPERIENCE OF CHRONIC PAIN IN NURSE EDUCATORS



by




MONIAREE PARKER JONES



DOUGLAS MCKNIGHT, COMMITTEE CHAIR

NORMA G. CUELLAR
AARON M. KUNTZ

BEVERLY E. THORN
FELECIA G. WOOD




A DISSERTATION









Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements

for the degree of Doctor of Education
in the Department of Educational Leadership,

Policy, and Technology Studies
in the Graduate School of
the University of Alabama





TUSCALOOSA, ALABAMA


2013

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Copyright Moniaree Parker Jones 2013
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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this weekend. At showers, I’m worried about, are people thinking that I am just lazy or
not a good hostess? Do I need to tell them that I have a problem? Or do I need to just be
quiet and smile and let this pass? This weekend we had a lot of people that didn’t know
me. I wondered, do they think that this is a grandmother who just comes and thinks she’s
privileged to not do anything? (Participant B, Interview III, ADN instructor)

Participant C was not expecting her disbelief behavior and feelings of hopelessness when

she was caught off guard at a follow-up physician’s phone call. The physician asked her to come

back next week and he would do some more invasive testing. Because she is a nurse, and knows

the order of things, she thought about the kinds of tests that are usually completed prior to

biopsies. This lived experience gives way to the notion that people in the medical profession

have a fair understanding but, not an in-depth understanding of chronic pain. This insight leads

to searching for the right provider until a satisfactory one is found. She said,

I wanted to sit down and look at the lab work from last week. I wanted to sit down and
look at a biopsy report. I wanted to be able to read this on my own. And, um . . . and then,
of course, you know I managed to get off the telephone with him and then just kind of sat
there stunned. You know, sort of thinking, well, . . . what just happened? You know,
basically at that point, life stopped. I started making telephone calls to everybody I knew
that could give me some information on this. Could it be cancer? That’s the only reason I
could think of why the doctor himself would call me at home to tell me this. (Participant
C, Interview III, BSN instructor)


Participant C revealed an emerging therapeutic occurrence, also found in the interview

with participant B and not expected by the researcher. Both participants voiced that these

interviews were proving to be cathartic and helpful in allowing unvented reflection to appear.

There is a tendency to see life in a different light, to take one day at a time, and to learn from the

personal experience. There is almost a sense of “I have a knowledge that not everyone has unless

they have been down this road or participated in the journey. She stated,

You are expected to deal with it. There’s this thing, I really think as a woman you’re
expected to sort of just suck it up and take it because you don’t want to inconvenience
everybody else. And kind of, if at all possible, down play it. I have found myself at least
twenty times the last couple of weeks doing it with my family. You don’t want anybody
to know what it was really like. You don’t want anybody to know. I have to say these

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interviews have been very helpful because I don’t know that there is anybody that I’ve
been able to let them really know just how scared I was this week when I saw the GYN
physician and the pain hit. Because I was so scared and quite honestly, I’m so ashamed as
a Christian that I was that afraid. I kept thinking to myself, this is not the way you’re
supposed to be as a Christian, to be so scared. But I was so afraid. I remember putting my
make-up on to go to the doctor and my hand shook so bad I thought I was going to have
my eyebrows drawn on upon my scalp! It’s almost like you had too much knowledge as a
nurse. Every crazy thing you’ve ever seen or heard about happening in a hospital was
going through your mind. I am not going to say this to my parents. I don’t want to make
a spectacle in front of my students. So what do I do? I get in an elevator and ride all the
way down and trot all the way across campus to the nursing building. I was determined I
was going to get there before I passed out. It’s so embarrassing when your boss has to
help you across the hallway to the nursing care clinic. It makes you feel vulnerable. I’m
not one of these. I don’t like feeling vulnerable. That’s one of my things. (Participant C,
Interview II, BSN instructor)



Subtheme: Stoic. The subtheme stoic emerged meaning “a person who can endure pain or

hardship without showing their feelings or complaining” (Oxford English Dictionary, 2013). For

example, Participant A said, “And I guess it depends on your personality. I don’t want to be told

I can’t do that, because I can do it.” There is a resilience that seems to be cultivated from the

chronic pain experience. Although participants recognized their physical limits, they did not

exaggerate them and instead showed zealous perseverance in using their remaining abilities.

Participant B said,


So, I’ve gotten very good at blocking . . . the back pain. And I would find that I would
hurt in my jaws because I would clinch. . . . Maybe this is something that I’m expected to
have to just tolerate. You know, maybe other people deal with this and don’t have to have
pain medication. So maybe I’m just being a wuss, and I need to just toughen up.


Participant C said,

Um . . . I tend to be sort of on the stoic side. Probably a lot of it . . . now I saw my
grandmother had a lot of problems with chronic pain, in particular. Like I said, um,
probably osteoarthritis related and she had a lot of surgeries. So I’m sure she had a lot of
scar tissue and adhesions. But I always saw my mother being very stoic. She was never
once a big one to complain you know? I think I tended to have that same kind of attitude
because my thing is I’m the one who’s saying “I am going to be alright.” I mean, usually,
your primary care providers are not terribly concerned about something like back pain
unless you just really act like you are dying with it. Their thing is going to, well, I can

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APPENDIX H


PERMISSION TO USE WONG-BAKER FACES PAIN RATING SCALE

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