Get access

The experiences of and the nursing care for breast cancer patients undergoing immediate breast reconstruction


  • J. HOLTZMANN rn, sd, ma ,

    Corresponding author
    1. Development Consultant, Copenhagen University Hospital at Glostrup, County of Copenhagen, &
    Search for more papers by this author
  • H. TIMM ph.d, msc.cult.soc

    1. Senior Researcher at the University Hospitals Centre for Nursing and Care Research (UCSF), Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet, Denmark
    Search for more papers by this author

Jette S. Holtzmann, Ordrupvej 4 2tv. 2920 Charlottenlund, Denmark (e-mail:


This study explores the experiences of and the nursing care for nine women with breast cancer undergoing immediate breast reconstruction (IBR) with a TRAM-flap. The study was prospective and descriptive and source and method triangulation was used. Source triangulation consisted of the patients’ and nurses’ perspectives, whilst method triangulation combined interviews, questionnaires and medical records. One result is that the meaning of IBR for the women operated is related to feelings of hope, normality and ‘wholeness’. Another result is that not all the needs of the patients are assessed and met; the nursing care during admission is mainly focused on the physical care and after dismissal the patients are left in a situation characterized by vulnerability and a sense of emptiness. The study points to some implications in the means of quality development and rehabilitation.