Caring for adolescent females with anorexia nervosa: registered nurses’ perspective


Susan J. King School of Nursing, Melbourne Campus, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Hwy, Burwood, Victoria 3125, Australia. E-mail:


Caring for adolescent females with anorexia nervosa: registered nurses’ perspectives

This phenomenological study was undertaken to explore in depth the experiences of registered nurses caring for adolescent anorexic females within paediatric wards of general hospitals in Victoria, Australia. A qualitative design underpinned by the philosophy of Edmund Husserl was employed for this study. Audio taped in-depth interviews with five registered nurses working within the public health care system were conducted. Using Colaizzi’s procedural steps of analysis, six themes of meaning were explicated. They were: (a) personal core values of nurses; (b) core values challenged; (c) emotional turmoil; (d) frustration; (e) turning points; and (f) resolution. These themes, when taken together, described the essence of the journey undertaken by registered nurses who cared for adolescent anorexic females. The findings of this study indicated that there is a need for extensive registered nurse preparation, on-going support, and development of education programmes to enable registered nurses to care for these patients with greater understanding. Further, the participants identified the need for new care regimes and protocols to be developed that incorporated new ways of thinking. They also expressed a desire to be have greater involvement in the planned care of their patients.