Dissertations & Theses (Open Access)

Date of Award

Spring 5-2019

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD)


Geri LoBiondo-Wood, PhD

Second Advisor

Rebecca L. Casarez, PhD

Third Advisor

Joan C. Engebretson, DrPH

Fourth Advisor

Victor Ankoma-Sey, M.D.


Background: Advances in liver transplantation have significantly improved survival rates, making liver transplant a viable option for those with End Stage Liver Failure (ESLF). However, patients diagnosed with ESLF may experience a significant period of waiting before a liver transplant surgery, due to a limited supply of donor livers. Empirical evidence is scarce on the experience of patients waiting for a liver transplantation.

Objective: The objective of this study was to explore the waiting experience of patients diagnosed with ESLF and to identify their perceived challenges and needs while waiting for a liver transplant.

Methods: Using a generic qualitative approach, interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of twelve patients diagnosed with ESLF, actively wait listed for a liver transplant. Participants were admitted to the liver disease unit of a teaching hospital at the time of the study. Transcriptions of interviews and field notes were coded in Atlas ti. V8. Content analysis of the data identified themes and subthemes relevant to the objective of the study.

Results: Personal description of patients’ experience and challenges while waiting for a liver transplant. Qualitative analysis of the personal descriptions interview data revealed that patients have an overarching experience of waiting in limbo while waiting for a liver transplant. Three themes (Uncertainty during the waiting period; Redefinition of life; Challenges during the waiting period) and five subthemes (Fear and Anxiety; Physical symptoms; Financial worry; Existing versus Living; Support and Faith) emerged from the analysis of the data.

Conclusion: Healthcare treatment for patients waiting for a liver transplant needs to be tailored to accommodate patient reported experience and perceived challenges.


Liver transplant, experience, qualitative

Included in

Nursing Commons



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