Evid Based Nurs 5:63 doi:10.1136/ebn.5.2.63
  • Qualitative

The experiences of patients with rheumatoid arthritis admitted to hospital focused on 5 interrelated themes

 QUESTION: How do women with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) experience inpatient hospital care?




1 hospital in Staffordshire and 1 hospital in West Midlands, UK.


9 women (mean age 54 y) who had RA for ≥ 3 years (range 3–42 y, mean 13.8 y) and had received inpatient treatment for ≥ 5 days within the previous 2 years. 5 patients were admitted to a dedicated rheumatology ward, and 4 were admitted to an internal medicine ward.


Patients participated in unstructured individual interviews of about 1 hour. Interviews were tape recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analysed using Colaizzi's method. The analysis was discussed with 3 participants to confirm that it was a reasonable account of their experiences.

Main findings

5 interrelated themes were identified. The first theme involved the uncertainty that women experienced before and during their first admission with RA. Feelings of uncertainty ranged from nervousness to actual fear. Fear of the unknown was prominent as patients expected that “something would be …

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