Living with Renal Disease: The Native American Experience

Living with Renal Disease: The Native American Experience

Author: 
Tina M. DeGroot
Program of study: 
Ph.D./NUR
Abstract: 
This phenomenological study examined the understanding and perception of the lived experiences of 10 Menominee Native Americans living with renal disease. Nationally, the increasing incidence of diabetes and obesity and an aging population have contributed to the rise in chronic kidney disease placing the population at risk for end stage renal disease (ESRD) (National Kidney Foundation, 2012). Among all racial/ethnic groups, Native Americans (NA) have the highest rates of diabetes (12%) and obesity (39%) and the incidence of end-stage renal disease in Native Americans is twice that of Caucasians (Collier, 2013; Gao et al., 2007; Indian Health Services, 2011; Jolly et al., 2011). The primary data collections were semi-structured face-to-face interviews. The data was coded and analyzed using the modified van Kaam’s rigorous four phase psychophenomenological method. A total of 24 descriptive expressions were categorized into 8 preliminary structural elements. Four essential structural elements emerged from the eight preliminary elements: (a) fighting for normalcy, (b) chronic emotional and physical fatigue, (c) living for someone else, and (d) predetermined tribal fate. Eight of ten participants had an understanding of a predetermined tribal fate to renal disease, but the observed or familial knowledge did not influence their lived experience or change the course of their health care decisions.
Dedication: 
I dedicate my research to Sr. Jonette Devlin, MSN who has dedicated her life to caring for patients with renal disease. In her 65 years as a nurse, she has quietly roamed the halls of St. Vincent Hospital from sunrise to sunset to comfort the ill through listening, providing empathy and kindness, and offering of prayer as they have lived through and died from the devastating side effects of kidney disease. Her dedication to the nursing profession through mentoring and educating has forever changed the lives of many grateful nurses. We are very blessed that she has touched our lives in so many ways.
Acknowledgements: 
I would like to express my deepest appreciation to friends and family who stood beside me to finish this journey and make changes in my career, my life, and my perception of the life long struggle of living with chronic illness. First, my husband, four children, sister, and mother who remained committed to my journey, and were always there to offer words of encouragement and Kleenexes for the tears. Second, my committee chair, Dr. Patricia Jenkins, her mentorship, support, and attention to details to assist me staying focused throughout the process. Dr. Mirella Brooks, whose expertise in qualitative research helped guide me and gave me encouragement, mentorship, and knowledge on the qualitative research methodology. Dr. Heath Boicee-Pardee, who at the first residency spoke of the importance of respecting the balance between our personal scholarly journeys and the life commitments we have to the ones we love. I would like to acknowledge Sr. Jonette Devlin, Clinical Nurse Specialist, for her 65 years of clinical experience with renal patients and her 25 year commitment as my mentor, colleague, and friend. Your life lessons on renal disease and God’s role in healing has offered me hope that the art and science of nursing will comfort and guide people with chronic illness. Lastly, I would like to acknowledge Dr. Richard McNutt, MD, & Mary Lindeman, Registered Medical Assistant for providing words of encouragement and critical analysis of my journey. You will forever be my family and friends.