Iranian nurses’ experiences of brain dead donors care in intensive care units: A phenomenological study

Shayesteh Salehi, Tahereh Kanani, Heidarali Abedi


Background: Care of brain dead donors is complex, critical, and sensitive and has a direct and positive impact on the end result of organ and tissue transplantation process. This study describes the nurses’ experiences of care of brain dead donors in intensive care units (ICU).

Materials and Methods: This research was performed by phenomenological method that is a qualitative approach. Purposive sampling was used to gather the data. The researcher reached to data saturation by deep interviews conducted with eight participants from ICU nurses in Isfahan hospitals who cooperated in care of brain dead donors. Data analysis was performed according to Colaizzi analysis method.

Results: Interviews were analyzed and the results of analysis led to “Excruciating tasks” as the main theme formed by psychological effects of facing the situation, heavy and stressful care, defect of scientific knowledge, conflict between feeling and duty, outcome of attitude change in behavior, emotional responses to perceived psychological afflictions, doubt to medical diagnosis, spiritual perceptions, and biological responses when faced with the situation.

Conclusion: Caring of brain dead organ donors is difficult and stressful for intensive care nurses and can be a threat for nurses’ health and quality of nursing care. So, providing suitable physical, mental, and working conditions is necessary to make suitable background to maintain and increase nurses’ health and quality of care and effective cooperation of this group of health professionals in organ procurement process.

Key words: Brain dead donor, nurses’ experiences, organ donation, organ procurement, intensive care unit, Iran

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