Master of Science
Often considered 'only a headache', migraine is a chronic uncurable neurobiological condition characterized by a constellation of unpredictable and disabling symptoms and is the second cause of disability worldwide. Migraine is most prevalent during the peak working years of an average adult (ages 22-55) and is three times more common in females than males. Migraine is prevalent among nurses, and high workplace stress and shift work are suggested as the main contributors. However, literature exploring the experience of persons living with migraine is scarce and nearly non-existent regarding nurses which have important individual and systems implications for health and wellness, job satisfaction, burnout rates, and patient safety. Self-management is essential in chronic disease management as the patient engages in various strategies to be able to live with their condition. Thus, in this study, I employed interpretive description as a methodology to explore and describe the experiences of living and working with migraine among female nurses in Ontario, with particular attention to their priorities and strategies for self-management. The results revealed nurses engaged in various self-management strategies including pharmacological and non-pharmacological strategies and highlighted the role of technology in migraine self-management. Participants also described experiences of living with migraine as an invisible condition including feelings of not being understood, stigma and the absence of formal support at the workplace. The implications of these findings support the incorporation of a critical approach to relational engagement that is person-centred including non-judgemental, strength-based care as a practice approach when caring for persons living with migraines and the need to include experiential learning in nursing educational curriculums as a strategy to reduce stigma against migraines.
Summary for Lay Audience
Migraine is a chronic condition that is a leading cause of disability worldwide. Migraine is more common among women with symptoms that occur more frequently during one’s productive years (i.e., between 22-55years). Women’s migraine symptoms are commonly labelled as a “woman’s excuse” for avoiding responsibilities, as such, this belief has undermined the understanding of migraine and has contributed to the underdiagnosis, undertreatment and experiences of discrimination among persons living with migraine. Living with a chronic condition such as migraine requires self-management which refers to the day-to-day management of chronic conditions by individuals throughout an illness. Also, with the increasing cost and burden of chronic illness, the use of digital health or electronic health platforms (eHealth) for self-management is a growing priority. The purpose of this study is to explore and describe the experiences of living and working with migraine among female nurses in Ontario, with particular attention to their priorities and strategies for self-management. The findings highlight various self-management strategies used by nurses and reveal a potential for the adoption of technology to support the self-management of migraines. In addition, the findings also highlight nurses' experience of stigma and how they negotiate the workplace as they live with migraine and feelings of their experiences not being understood and lack of workplace support. The implications of these findings support the incorporation of a collaborative approach to care which requires exploring and assessing contextual factors that shape the experience of persons living with migraines, the need to include experiential learning in nursing educational curriculums as a strategy to reduce the stigma against migraines and improve policies to support persons living with migraines.
Ngole Dione, Marionette, "Self-management Experience of Nurses Living with Migraine: A Qualitative Study" (2022). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 8913.
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