Seeking normalcy: The experience of coronary artery bypass surgery


  • Dr. Colleen Keller PhD, RN, CCRN

    Corresponding author
    1. Assistant Professor in the College of Nursing, Arizona State University
    • Arizona State University, College of Nursing, Tempe, AZ 85287
    Search for more papers by this author


The aim of this study was to describe the experience of coronary artery bypass surgery (CAB) from the patient's perspective. A grounded theory method was used to explore the postoperative experiences of eight men and one woman following CAB surgery. The major process individuals engaged in following CAB surgery was seeking normalcy which involved three conceptual stages: surviving, restoring, and being fixed. Some individuals sought other explanations for the symptoms accompanying heart disease. An understanding of patient experiences regarding the nature of cardiovascular disease through the experience of surgery regimens may contribute to the assessment and intervention strategies used by health care providers in the postoperative care of these patients.